LNP candidate Tony Perrett
LNP candidate Tony Perrett Contributed

Business the solution to Gympie's 8.6% unemployment: Perrett

CUTTING the chains that are choking small business, unlatching the Labor lock keeping students out of an empty TAFE building, supporting local industries, and building the right infrastructure would help to tackle Gympie's 8.6% unemployment, LNP candidate Tony Perrett said yesterday.

"It is not about government creating jobs it is about business creating jobs,” Mr Perrett said.

"Solutions have to be about making it easier for employers put on staff and easier for people to gain the right skills to secure jobs.

"The Labor Party's addiction to dishing up a menu of quick sugar hits fails to produce real long term jobs.

"Having a job on a project for a few weeks or months here and there undermines confidence in our local economy and provides little or no security to families and workers.

"As more than 90% of jobs are created by small to medium sized business the most obvious start for real long term employment is to take the shackles off Gympie's 4380 businesses with the largest sector (26.8%) being from agriculture, forestry and fishing, followed by construction at 16.5% and real estate services (10.3%) and retail trade (6.5%).

"These Gympie businesses cannot grow, invest and employ more people if they are weighed down with higher costs such as electricity, payroll tax, stifling Workcover costs, and red and green tape.

"The average turnover of Gympie businesses in the 2015/2016 year was $347,000 with the largest proportion of (47.5%) under $100,000, followed by (18.4%) in the $100,000- $200,000, and (16.3%) in the turnover $200,000 to $499,999 range.

"Delivering cheaper electricity prices by scrapping the 50% renewable energy target, writing off the $2 billion of the regulated asset base, and freezing executive bonuses, as well as cutting payroll tax every year for the next ten years, and increasing the payroll tax exemption threshold will save our local businesses thousands of dollars.

"We will also take pressure off Workcover costs and help with the cost of employing apprentices and young workers, cut red tape by 20% over six years, take the lead on buying local to support our businesses with our Buy Local Price Match Guarantee Policy.

"To assist mature-age job seekers find meaningful employment we have committed $20.25 million to help them re-train, learn a new skill and gain employment.

"At a local level granting access to that empty TAFE building is not simply about allowing the USC to expand.

"A growing local campus will help students who are not able to attend University because of distance and financial factors, for the high number of unemployed youth who want to gain skills, and for mature-aged students who are trying to upskill but are not able to move away because of work and family commitments.

"This year there were 452 enrolments at the USC from the Gympie region, with only 320 enrolments at our local campus meaning that 132 students had to travel outside the region to attend the USC.

"Those local enrolments should be 600 or more and the sooner we have that empty TAFE building the better for our region.

"I know TAFE and USC want to work collaboratively and it is important to have pathway opportunities from vocational to tertiary education which is already happening at the Gympie site.

"Being able to study locally means that you can attend university part time, secure a local job and look to establishing a future in our growing region.

"There is no better example than the experience of my eldest daughter, Steph, who was able to study at the local campus a Bachelor of Commerce, focusing on accountancy and financial planning.

"She was able to live at home, work part time at a local accountancy firm, and is fortunate to now secure a full time job here in Gympie.

"Gympie is a high growth commercial and residential corridor in a strategic location with over three million consumers within a two hour travelling time.

"We have a solid and diverse economies making us attractive to investment unlike other regions which experience the peaks and troughs of fluctuations in industries like tourism and mining.

"Government investment in key infrastructure will provide confidence in our economy and expand our gross regional product, by unleashing the potential of the private sector to value add, borrow, invest, grow and generate jobs.

"That is why our commitment to continuing the Bruce Highway upgrades which the LNP kick started, $2.5 million towards a business case for a Very Fast Train from Brisbane to Bundaberg, and more specifically the $13.2 million to upgrade 14 intersections between Gympie and Curra, $10 million to upgrade the Coondoo Creek Bridge, and $100,000 for a long term strategic plan of Gympie road network will open up our region to those market,” he said.