Jobs the focus for Madden as he faces 2015 election
FIXING the rising unemployment levels in Ipswich West is set to be a key campaign platform of Labor candidate Jim Madden.
The Somerset councillor and Lowood lawyer launched his campaign in Ipswich on Saturday night before more than 120 supporters with former deputy prime minister and treasurer Wayne Swan the guest speaker.
"I have a number of priorities but number one is jobs or to be more precise, managing the tragedy that is unemployment in Ipswich West ... something that the current member rarely mentions and with good reason," Cr Madden said.
"When the LNP took power in March 2012, unemployment was 5.5% but Campbell Newman said he would bring it down to 4%. Through his management of the Queensland economy it has not gone down, but has risen to 6.3%.
"In Ipswich West it is worse with an overall adult unemployment rate of 9.3% but as high as 17.6% in some suburbs, while youth unemployment is over 20%."
Cr Madden said there was "a philosophical divide between the LNP and the Labor Party when it comes to dealing with unemployment".
"The LNP seem to believe that if it supports big business, big business will get even bigger and employ more people, thereby solving the unemployment problem.
"Labor takes a more pragmatic and compassionate approach.
"Labor policies are aimed not only at economic development, but also industry development, innovation and job creation."
Cr Madden said the Labor Party would always treat the unemployed with respect and not consign them to the unemployment "dust bin".
"If retraining is required, it should be available through our TAFE system and for a reasonable fee," he said.
Cr Madden said another key priority, and essential for economic development, was "improving transport infrastructure and better public transport".
"Major infrastructure projects vital to Ipswich West include the Norman Street Bridge, the Minden Interchange, the Colleges Crossing Bridge and the western bypass connecting the Cunningham Highway.
"I will be pressing for reviews of these projects to determine how best to move them forward.
"And with projects where funding has been approved, such as the $10M Thagoona floodworks, I will be keeping the pressure on the Ipswich City Council and the State Government to complete these projects as soon as possible."
In his speech, Cr Madden said that it was often said how the best thing a parent could do for their children was to give them a good education.
"My parents certainly did that for me but they did so much more," he said.
"They were loving parents, devoted to their children. They saw to it that I had a wonderful education at St Mary's Primary School and St Edmund's College, both academically and spiritually.
"That wonderful education allowed me to go on to firstly study agriculture and become an agronomist, but later in life commence studying law and eventually owning my own law practice. I was also fortunate to have a childhood in MacGregor St, Woodend, where I knew everyone in the street, every adult and every child."