My Secure CQ Plan
Create more secure jobs for locals
Our CQ job security crisis is draining hundreds of millions of dollars from our local economy and into the pockets of multinational mining executives and shareholders. Even worse: it is hurting local families who just want good, secure jobs so they can build a life for themselves, buy their own home and raise a family.
The problem is even worse in the mining sector, where true permanent jobs are now a rarity. As someone who has worked in the mining sector almost his entire adult life, I can tell you casual mine workers earn far less than permanent staff, can’t take a day off when they or a loved one are sick without missing out on income and can be sacked with no notice and for no reason. As we saw with the Grosvenor mine explosion, casualised workers are increasingly pushed into dangerous situations because they are afraid of losing their job or income.
Labor’s Secure Australian Jobs plan will fix this mess. It means introducing a Same Job, Same Pay plan to remove the financial incentive for big multinationals to use labour hire firms to undermine pay and conditions. It also includes introducing a clear legal definition of what constitutes casual work and what doesn’t and using the federal government’s procurement policies to ensure the Commonwealth is supporting secure employment.
Fixing our job security crisis will benefit our entire region. It will mean more workers have the job security they need to buy a home and raise a family, which means more money circulating in our region.
Deliver more training opportunities and more local affordable housing
Under the federal Liberal government, more than $3b has been stripped from skills training and the TAFE system. This has meant a big drop in the number of apprenticeships and training opportunities for Central Queenslanders. For instance, the number of butcher’s apprentices in our region has dropped 55% since 2013 and local shops are struggling to find skilled workers. You know something has gone wrong when a butcher in the beef capital can’t find workers.
Investing in training and apprenticeships helps our region in two ways: it means locals can get the skills they need to fill the jobs available in our region and build a career, and it means small businesses can find the workers they need locally.
Whether it's trade apprenticeships or degrees in medicine or engineering - more local training and education opportunities will help our region grow. Labor will invest in TAFE and skills training in CQ to reverse the damage done by the Liberals and Nationals, including delivering free TAFE for sectors affected by skills shortages. We’ll also create more than 10,000 energy apprenticeships nationally to support a crucial once in a generation upgrade to our electricity grid that will deliver the affordable, reliable power we need to rebuild our manufacturing sector.
Labor will also deliver more affordable housing to support local families and local workers and help more Central Queenslanders on lower incomes to buy their own home with the Help to Buy plan.
Protect Medicare and stand up for local health services
As a result of the Liberals’ cuts to Medicare, it's now harder than ever to find a bulk-billing GP, while the cost of specialist procedures has soared.
This is putting enormous pressure on our health system. When people can’t afford to go to a GP, or can’t find one available, they’ve got little choice but to go to the hospital Emergency Department if they need to see a doctor. This is, sadly, tying up hospital resources and has contributed significantly to the ramping problem at many hospitals.
Scott Morrison and the Liberals have never supported Medicare and will always look for further opportunities to cut. Labor built Medicare, and we will protect it and invest in health services so that Central Queenslanders can access the care they need.
Rebuild our local manufacturing and industrial sector
Australia’s manufacturing sector is now the weakest in the developed world1. The past 25 years have seen a dramatic decline in our manufacturing capacity, and we are trailing not only our neighbours in developing countries but also every wealthy nation on the planet - including countries like Canada and New Zealand.
This is hurting our country and leaves us at risk of disruptions to global supply chains.
We need to do better. Labor has proposed a $15b National Reconstruction Fund to partner with the private sector to rebuild our manufacturing sector in areas where we can develop a competitive advantage.
CQ is extremely well placed to benefit from this plan. We already have a strong industrialised workforce, access to world class ports and transport links, cheap available land and a reliable energy supply.
I want to see our region lead the way in the reconstruction of our manufacturing sector. In fact, I believe CQ can be the manufacturing capital of regional Australia. All we need is strong local leadership, which is what I will deliver.
1 A Fair Share for Australian Manufacturing, Centre for Future Work, 2020
Grow our local economy
Our region has been built on the back of our strengths in the resources and agriculture sectors. We need to maintain those strengths and build on them, while looking for new opportunities to grow our economy and create jobs for the future. Labor’s plan is about creating more jobs in more industries.
We need to invest in local infrastructure to drive the creation of new jobs and cement our competitive advantages. And we need to get all three levels of government working together with the private sector and other partners like our university to focus on the opportunities that deliver the most bang for our buck.
Our region has been lacking that leadership over the past eight years. If I’m elected, I’ll make it my priority.