LNP will get Ipswich back to work: Bleijie
IPSWICH'S unemployment rate is on the rise and Shadow Employment Minister Jarrod Bleijie insists the LNP has the policies to reverse the trend.
The ABS Labour Force figures for August reveal Ipswich unemployment is now 7.7%, up from 5.7% the previous month.
The unemployment figures rise and fall over a year and looking at one month in isolation gives credence to the old adage about 'lies, damned lies and statistics'.
But the LNP points to the moving average unemployment for Ipswich for the year ending August 31, as released by the Queensland Government's Statistician's Office, as being at 8.1% when it was 6.8% for the previous year.
In Ipswich, 13,200 people are unemployed compared to 10,600 the year before.
The Ipswich moving average unemployment rate for the 12 months of 8.1% compares unfavourably with the state average of 6.2%.
Mr Bleijie said the trend in Ipswich was unacceptable and that the LNP had a strategy in place, by means of its 'Get Queensland Working' employment policy, to get Ipswich working.
He said the policies would see more apprentices and unemployed people back in jobs, while also giving employers the incentives to put them on.
"We need to give apprentices tools and we call our policy 'Tools for Tradies' which is a $500 boost by means of tool vouchers where at the end of their trade they can get new tools or upgrade their tools,” he said.
"We also, through an employment boost, need to give some workers compensation money back to the employers to encourage them to keep on employees.
"Our back to work jobs package will have 10,000 new apprentices (employed) over four years which will include people in Ipswich, who can apply for that money.
"That's a $5000 boost for people to take on apprentices.
"This is not just building apprentices. It could be hairdressers, chefs or whatever the case is.
"Another element of our policy is another 10,000 jobs with a $4000 contribution to small businesses to take on unemployed people who are not in full-time training.
"That is 15 to 24 year-olds who are sitting at home and wanting to work but don't have the capacity to work at the moment because employers can't afford to pay for uniforms or training.
"You can combine all that and we are looking at 20,000 jobs over four years at a cost of $100 million, as opposed to the government's $100 million jobs package which will only create 8000 jobs.”
Mr Bleijie took a shot at the ALP's Jobs Queensland organisation which he said was not living up to its purpose and suffering from bureaucratic inertia.
"The government's peak job agency, Jobs Queensland, which is established in Ipswich has not created one single job,” he said.
"I have been saying to the government that there are issues of unemployment in Ipswich and it is only a matter of time before the unemployment rate rises, which we now clearly see with these new Labour Force indicators.”
Ipswich MP Jennifer Howard said Mr Bleijie didn't understand what Jobs Queensland was.
"Jobs Queensland is not a jobs generator,” she said.
"It is a body that has been created to consult with the community and government to determine what kind of jobs we are looking at in the future and what training programs need to be implemented so people are trained for those jobs.”
Ms Howard acknowledged that more needs to be done to address unemployment levels in Ipswich but said she was heartened to see youth unemployment decrease by 2.5%.
"I know first-hand that some regions have been doing it tough which is why the Palaszczuk Government's jobs focus is critically important in cities like Ipswich,” Ms Howard said.
"We are now offering a higher incentive to Queensland businesses to employ apprentices and trainees through our Payroll Tax Rebate.
"For this financial year, any employer in Queensland with apprentices or trainees on staff will now be able to claim a 50 per cent rebate. The doubling of the rebate for hiring apprentices and trainees makes our payroll tax system even more attractive.
"I encourage local employers in Ipswich to take advantage of these schemes and the significant payments available for taking on an unemployed person.”