CQ loses thousands of jobs in weeks as downturn bites

THE Queensland opposition has released a set of damning employment statistics for Central Queensland, criticising the performance of the State Government.

While they acknowledge in the past year overall employment has risen, in the past month alone 1000 jobs have been lost and the unemployment rate in the region has risen from 6.4 to 6.7 per cent.

This is the fourth straight month where the unemployment rate has risen, despite fewer people attempting to find work.

Since the election in 2015, the opposition said, the unemployment rate had increased by 1.4 per cent with 1300 jobs disappearing from the region.

Wesfarmers Curragh Mine Blackwater.
Photo Meghan Kidd / CQ News
WITHOUT A PLAN? Both the LNP and ALP agree the unemployment rate has risen. Meghan Kidd

Employment Minister Grace Grace says that when Labor came to office, mining regions like Central Queensland were faced with rising unemployment because the LNP had no plan to deal with the end of the mining boom.

"Thanks to our job-stimulating programs such as Accelerated Works Program, Back to Work, increased Queensland First Home Owners Grant and Works for Queensland, we have a real plan to create more jobs in Central Queensland," Ms Grace said.

"The 2016-17 State Budget includes an $823 million infrastructure spend, which is supporting 2500 jobs in the region.

"And our $100 million Back to Work regional jobs package is also delivering great results, so far assisting 419 Central Queenslanders.

"I've seen first-hand how this fantastic program is transforming the lives of local jobseekers - it's delivering real jobs for real people.

Ms Grace said the State Government would continue to invest in job-creating initiatives and programs to generate the jobs that Central Queensland needs.