The Nationals Jobs Plan for central Queensland

Media Release


07 August 2015

The Nationals recognise the downturn in the resource sector, caused by a global downturn in certain resource prices, particularly coal.

We recognise that Australian Bureau of Statistics resource industry data shows a decline in jobs in the resource industry.

The Nationals further recognise that a significant proportion of those job losses have taken place in the Central Queensland region.

In response to this situation, the Nationals, as part of the Federal Liberal National Coalition Government, are committed to investing in infrastructure projects in the Central Queensland region to provide jobs now and in the near future. This investment in job-creating infrastructure projects includes, but is not limited to:

  • $428 million for the Mackay Ring Road, which will create 600 jobs;
  • $166.1 million for Peak Downs Highway safety works, which will create 295 jobs;
  • $136 million for the Yeppen Floodplain Upgrade, which is creating 200 jobs;
  • $12.5 million for the Kin Kora Roundabout, which is creating 78 jobs;
  • $86 million for Bruce Highway pavement widening in the Flynn and Capricornia electorates, which is creating 46 jobs;
  • $8.8 million for the Bruce Highway Sarina Northern access upgrade, which will create 32 jobs;
  • $105.4 million for Bruce Highway black spots in areas from Sarina to Cairns, which is creating 30 jobs;
  • $110 million for Bruce Highway overtaking lanes in the Flynn and Capricornia electorates, creating 24 jobs;
  • $9.6 million for Bruce Highway pavement widening in areas from St Lawrence to Bowen, which is creating 18 jobs;
  • $320 million for the Bruce Highway safety package, which is creating 5 jobs
  • $46 million for Roads to Recovery & Black Spot Funding to local councils, which is creating dozens of local jobs; and
  • $115 million to local councils for local roads and streets under the Roads to Recovery Program.

In addition to this investment, the Nationals are committed to ensuring that ongoing funding is available through the Stronger Regions fund to assist in generating employment throughout the Central Queensland region.

More than $1 billion will be provided to extend NBN fast broadband speeds to central Queensland.

The Nationals, as part of the Federal Liberal National Coalition Government, are also committed to offering a range of assistance measures to help people secure jobs including:

  • Restart—$10,000 to employ mature age job seekers;
  • Relocation assistance—Up to $9000 to relocate for an ongoing job;
  • Trade Support Loans of up to $20,000 for apprentices with a 20% discount for successful completion;
  • $476 million for skills advice and staff training under the Industry Skills Fund;
  • $5 billion for the new Jobactive model to help job seekers move from welfare to work;
  • Australian Defence Force Gap Year skills and training opportunity for school leavers;
  • Job Commitment Bonus of up to $4000 for young job seekers who keep a job and stay off welfare for 24 months;
  • Work for the Dole scheme provides opportunities and work experience;
  • Wage subsidies of up to $6,500 for businesses that take on long-term welfare recipients, young or indigenous job seekers;
  • Green Army program enabling volunteers to gain skills while cleaning up environment; and
  • Apprentice Support of $200 million each year for the Australian Apprenticeship Support Network to life apprenticeship completion rates.

The Nationals are committed to ensuring that Australian workers are given priority for Australian jobs, and ensuring that only when it can be proven that there are no available Australian workers to fill job vacancies that foreign workers be considered. Notwithstanding that commitment, the Nationals recognise the need for working holiday visa holders (backpacker workers) to fill the unmet labour needs in industries such as horticulture.

The Nationals welcome the fact that in the Mackay/Fitzroy/Central West regions there have been an overall decrease in the number of 457 visa holders from 30 June, 2013 (when Labor held office) to the latest figures as at 31 March, 2015 (under the Liberal National Coalition) of 20 per cent.

The Nationals, as part of the Federal Liberal National Coalition Government, are committed to ensuring that 457 visas are not misused.

The Nationals believe that Central Queensland workers should always have the ability to apply for Central Queensland jobs and the practice of operating 100% Fly In Fly Out workforces which shut local workers out, amounts to geographic discrimination.

The Nationals are concerned at the extreme green movement's disruptive campaigns against job-creating projects throughout Central Queensland and elsewhere. As such, The Nationals welcome the current parliamentary inquiry examining whether groups which engage legal challenges against developments, advocacy against developments or industries and political campaigns should receive taxpayer funding or entitlement to tax deductibility status.

Furthermore, the Nationals, support removing the ability of individuals and groups who are not directly connected with or impacted by a particular development to appeal against that development's approval in court. However, the Nationals continue to support the right of landholders and others directly affected by particular developments to appeal those developments through the courts.