Shadow Treasurer Curtis Pitt says today’s regional jobless figures show the LNP is still making no progress on its 2012 promise for a statewide 4% jobless rate.
Mr Pitt said ABS figures showed the jobless rate in many regions and for young people (aged 15 to 24) was worse than when the Newman Government took office.
“Youth unemployment in the Cairns region remains a scandal for which the Newman Government is directly responsible,” Mr Pitt said.
“The jobless rate among young people in the region is 21.6% compared with 11% when Labor was in office.
“In three years after promising to tackle unemployment and have our state heading toward a4% statewide jobless rate, the situation for young people in the Far North has worsened.
“The regional jobless rate in the Mackay region in December was 5.2% – up from 3.8% at the March 2012 election with 2,000 more people unemployed.
“Wide Bay has also seen a rise in unemployment, going from 8.2% to 9.6% since the 2012 election.
“Other areas have also seen a rise in their jobless rate. The Ipswich region has seen unemployment rise from 5.3% in March 2012 to 9% in December with 6,400 more unemployed.
“Ipswich also has a high youth jobless rate of 18.6% in December compared with 12% in March 2012.
“On the Sunshine Coast 3,700 more people are unemployed with the rate rising from 5.9% to 7.4%.
“In Townsville the unemployment rate has gone from 7% in March 2012 to 8.4% in the latest figures with 1,300 more unemployed.
“And youth unemployment in Townsville is now 16.5% – up on the 15.4% in March 2012.
“The youth jobless rate in In the Toowoomba region was 11.6% in December – up on the 8.4% in March 2012.”
Mr Pitt said today’s ABS figures also showed yet again how badly the LNP had failed young jobseekers.
“The LNP’s cuts to jobs and frontline services went too far and too deep and helped smother our state and regional economies,” he said.
“Campbell Newman has been too focussed on his new $2.6 billion government accommodation project that is aimed at delivering the LNP a new but unnecessary Executive Building in the heart of Brisbane.
“When the LNP has a choice to make it prefers to look after itself instead of directing that $2.6 billion to job-creating projects in regional centres.
“There will be even less money to spend on job-creating projects if the LNP gets its way and sells off our state assets.
“Taxpayers will then lose the $2 billion-a-year revenue stream from government-owned businesses the LNP wants to sell.
“That money will be gone forever, but the LNP will have its new Executive Building and that seems to be all it worries about.”
Mr Pitt said the Working Queensland jobs plan showed the Labor Party would not engage in a senseless and irresponsible election auction with taxpayers’ money as the LNP was doing.
“Labor is presenting modest commitments compared to the LNP’s spend-a-thon, and this is backed by our Working Queensland jobs plan and our Debt Action Plan which will see $5.4 billion of taxpayer debt paid down in just six years,” he said.
“But our state’s performance will pick up thanks in part to the export LNG industry that the former Labor Government helped establish.
“Labor also backs job-creating developments such as the proposed Carmichael mine in the Galilee Basin, but disputes the need for taxpayers to fund a new rail line when even the proponent says that financial support is not necessary.
“The Adani company has already said the rail line would have gone ahead without government support, so the taxpayer funding – reportedly up to $450 million – is not critical.
“In any event, like almost all of Campbell Newman’s election promises, it relies on asset sales that even the Premier has said may not all be successful and not all return the proceeds claimed by the LNP.
“This is a high-risk, irresponsible, and incompetent way to run a state like Queensland and an economy that Labor left in good shape after the GFC and after a string of massive natural disasters,” Mr Pitt said.