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Labor’s regional jobs target just a hollow PR stunt

The Nationals WA have labelled the McGowan Government’s latest pledge to create jobs in regional Western Australia a “PR stunt” after two years of Labor broken promises.

The Premier today promised to create 30,000 new jobs in regional Western Australia over the next five years but failed to explain how the target would be achieved.

“Instead of conjuring up targets out of thin air, perhaps the Premier should focus on delivering his original promise to create thousands of jobs in the regions before the 2017 election,” Ms Davies said.

“I am baffled why the Premier would re-set a target when he hasn’t come close to delivering his targets of two years ago.

“Forgive my scepticism but this is the same Government which has pulled workers out of regional WA through its centralisation of services and departments, tried to cull Community Resource Centre funding, killed off Royalties for Regions and cut education and health funding to the bush – just to name a few.”

Ms Davies said the Government had lost the faith of regional Western Australians and the plan announced today was meaningless.

“Prior to winning Government in 2017, Labor published a number of jobs plans for regional areas. Other than creating a job for the person at the Xerox machine, these pre-election jobs plans have deliver nothing,” Ms Davies said.

“In Albany, for example, the Premier promised hundreds of jobs for the Albany wave energy project. In two years the project has created just 16 jobs – all of which are in Perth besides one in the UK.

“Why should anyone in regional Western Australia believe the Premier this time around?

“I also note that both the Wheatbelt and Gascoyne were overlooked for jobs plans before the 2017 election so I would be interested to know if these regions feature in Labor’s new 30,000 target.”

Ms Davies said the McGowan Government had shown a preference for a fly-in, fly-out workforce when it came to regional employment.

“Given this figure of 30,000 would incorporate huge assumptions in the uptick of WA’s resources sector, I am calling on the Government to ensure all jobs promised are based in regional Western Australia and are not simply FIFO roles,” Ms Davies said.

“As we have seen in Karratha with the Planning Minister directly intervening to deliver the 600-bed Bay Village FIFO camp, the McGowan Government’s preference is for FIFO over residential, which has far less benefit for the regional economy.”

Ms Davies said the Labor Government had stubbornly refused a proposal by The Nationals in November 2017 to increase the $850,000 payroll tax eligibility threshold to $1 million. “This would have delivered thousands of jobs and resulted in a reduced tax burden for small businesses,” she said.