Policy Statement: Jobs
I don't know about you, but I'm tired of listening to politicians spout generalities when it comes to jobs and job creation. Mark McGowan has said he will create 50,000 jobs if he's elected, but he's light on detail - where will these jobs be, what industries will they be in, what regions. And how many will be local to Rockingham, where he's asking for your vote? Colin Barnett isn't much better. He claims Labor would cost us more thatn 30,000 jobs if elected, but again, he's light facts to back up his assertion. Perhaps all we can say with any certainty is that each of them is looking out for one job in particular - and for number one - with each willing to make any claim he reasonably can to nab it keep the other out of the Premier's palace!
I'm more interested in specifics. Examples of where we might reasonably be expected to create new, sustainable jobs here in Rockingham and in our surrounding suburbs over the next five years. Here are some thoughts:
• Let's work to establish a Defence Hub to service our boat building and defence maintenance industries. This hub would combine marketing expertise with an education component, ensuring that our young people had access to the courses they needed to progress within these industries. The land between Murdoch University's Rockingham Campus and the local TAFE has been suggested as one viable location for the build, and I am currently in discussions with local and federal representatives to ensure that Rockingham remains at the top of the list of potential sites for this innovative and highly lucrative facility.
• Let's lobby the federal government to grant us dollar-for-dollar funding for the
second stage of the floating docks at Henderson, allowing our local companies to
offer specialist maintenance facilities to the RAN at Fleet Base West, as well as a
wider range of civilian contracts. I was able to get the Federal Employment
Minister into a room with a group of company executives earlier this year, and
went a long way to selling her on this proposal, which would bring somewhere in
the region of 1000 extra manufacturing jobs into the Rockingham area. As a
result, I am personally invested in this project, and am committed to doing all that
I can to make it a reality.
• Let's progress the Port Rockingham Marina proposal, and support the establishment of a Coastal Marine Park at Point Peron. Each of these will involve local construction jobs in the early phases, sustainable jobs once the facilities (including a visitor / education centre and museum on the Point Peron site) are open, and would attract tourist dollars into our local economy.
• Let's move forward with the Outer Harbour as quickly as we can, but let's be honest with people about how long it will be before the Harbour itself is operational. There will be local jobs in both the planning and the building phases, then the potential for large numbers of local jobs in ten years time, once the facility opens. So long as we're honest about the time-frame, these are all perfectly valid goals.
• Let's do everything we can to cut red tape that hampers small and medium businesses from setting up locally. I can personally think of three or four local businesses that are in the process of setting up at present, and every dollar we can save them in abolished red tape is a dollar they can spend on recruitment, training, and staff retention.
And above all else, let's not be afraid to ask "What's in it for Rockingham?" when our local politicians promise us large numbers of unspecified jobs. We have been overlooked by the two major parties for too long now, with the Liberals unwilling to spend money in an area they know they can't win, and Labor preferring to spend in swing seats, and presuming that their hold here is safe. We won't move forward in terms of inward investment until we break that cycle, and the way to break it is to elect an independent local MLA.