NSW Shadow Treasurer Michael Daley today joined local State and Federal Labor MP’s to outline a positive way forward to combat the growing jobs crisis in the region as a result of significant cuts to the workforce across the mining and manufacturing sector.
“The Shadow Minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park and his colleagues Noreen Hay and Anna Watson have developed a plan that would set the region on a positive path forward both in terms of jobs growth and supporting those men and women who find themselves unemployed as a result of the recent announcements in these two major sectors,” Mr Daley said.
“I wanted to be here today announcing this plan with all of them to demonstrate very clearly that the NSW Opposition under Luke Foley’s leadership understands the challenges this very important region is facing and that we are prepared to work in a proactive way with the Government to look at solutions that will support the local economy,” he said.
The ten point plan developed by Labor covers key elements critical to not only support existing jobs and industries but also with a view to the future about how we can capitalise on the growth in Western Sydney.
The key components of the plan include:
- Providing direct assistance to BlueScope Steel in terms of a reduction in NSW Government charges;
- Fast tracking NSW Government infrastructure projects in the region;
- Accelerating the approval process for private sector projects that create jobs;
- Support and funding for training and scholarships at TAFE and the University of Wollongong;
- Develop changes to the NSW Procurement Policy to maximise the use of Australian produced steel in Government infrastructure projects;
- Establish a dedicated task force to look at specific ways the region can benefit and work with Western Sydney to enhance local investment;
- Establish formal discussions with BlueScope Steel regarding the use and remediation of the excess land and the future employment generating industries that may use this land.
“This plan is about developing a positive way forward in the face of very difficult economic circumstances that our region faces. It is not about politics, it is about clearly demonstrating that Labor understands the challenges the community is facing and we are ready to work constructively with the Government on solutions to support jobs and grow our economy,” Mr Park said.
“The community is looking for and expects leadership from all of its political representatives. We are not interested in playing games, what we are focused on is supporting and growing local jobs that in turn will stimulate our economy,” Mr Park said.
Member for Wollongong Noreen Hay said that the growing uncertainty especially for employees at BlueScope Steel meant it was critical that the region come together to support the local families during this difficult time.
“Each and every day I am talking with the local families and small business owners who will be directly impacted by a reduction in the workforce at BlueScope Steel. They have all made it clear to me that they want their community leaders to do everything possible to support the steel industry and ensure we continue to have a strong regional economy,” she said.
Member for Shellharbour Anna Watson emphasised the need to look at how significant infrastructure investments in her electorate could be accelerated so as to support local jobs and boost economic activity across the region.
“We have two major projects in terms of the Albion Park Bypass and Shellharbour Hospital that could be accelerated and brought forward so they go from planning to construction in a shorter time period than what is currently planned,” she said.
The Shadow Minister for the Illawarra Ryan Park will formally write to the Premier and the Parliamentary Secretary for the Illawarra seeking a discussion on the plan and the establishment of an urgent summit to work through these and any other proposals that the Government and industry believes will assist the region.