Treasurer and Member for Mulgrave, Curtis Pitt, says the latest ABS figures show significant improvements since the January 2015 state election in the general unemployment rate in Cairns as well as youth unemployment.

Figures released today show the lowest unemployment rate for Cairns in eight-and-a-half years and 7,600 net new jobs have been in Cairns since the January 2015 state election,” Mr Pitt said.

“They show a general unemployment rate of 5.9% in July in Cairns compared with 6.6% in June this year.

“The last time the rate was less than 5.9% was in January 2009.

“Cairns also recorded the largest drop in its unemployment rate compared with July 2016 of any region in the state — a drop of 2.7 percentage points.

“The 5.9% rate for July is a long way from the peak in recent years of 8.9% in December 2012, just a few months after the LNP’s first disastrous State Budget that cut 14,000 jobs and saw our credit rating being placed on negative outlook.

“The 5.9% rate for July also compares with the 7.9% rate for January 2015 we inherited from the previous LNP government — that’s a significant drop of two percentage points under the Palaszczuk Government’s economic plan.”

Mr Pitt said nine of the 14 regions outside Brisbane had shown a fall in their general unemployment rate since the 2015 election.

He said youth unemployment had also seen a major improvement in Cairns since the election.

“We inherited a Cairns youth unemployment rate of 21.5% in January 2015, compared with the latest figures showing a youth unemployment rate of 15.6% in July,” Mr Pitt said.

“That’s a fall of 5.9% since the state election and is a significant drop from the 28% peak for youth unemployment in Cairns in November 2016.

He said the youth unemployment rate had also fallen in nine of the 14 regions outside Brisbane since the January 2015 election.

“The positive result for Cairns shows the Palaszczuk Government’s focus on job creation, and our focus on supporting regional communities and economies has been the right path,” Mr Pitt said.

“Across the state we have created 94,500 net new jobs created since the last election.

“We have achieved that through our economic plan and three State Budgets that have delivered job-creating initiatives such as our $42.75 billion capital works program over four years.

“Our Works for Queensland program funding local council capital works projects; our Building our Regions program; and our Jobs and Regional Growth Fund are all helping to create jobs in regional communities.

“In addition, programs such as our Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Fund; Market Led Proposals; and the Business Development Fund are playing their part right across our state.

“Our Back to Work program was originally aimed at regional communities but has been expanded to South East Queensland to support employers hiring unemployed jobseekers including those aged 15-24.

“Back to Work had an original target of 8,000 jobs over two years but has seen more than 6,600 Queenslanders secure jobs since July 2016 — including 1,500 in Far North Queensland.

“These programs and the results they have delivered in lower unemployment rates show the Palaszczuk Government’s economic plan is about building, employing, and investing in our future.

“By contrast the LNP only wants to cut, sack, and sell — cut frontline services, sack workers, and sell assets,” he said.