LNP candidates make case for boosting manufacturing in CQ
ENCOURAGING the growth of CQ’s manufacturing sector to generate jobs during the COVID-19 recovery phase is turning into a hot button election issue for our region’s political aspirants.
Following the Labor Party and Katter’s Australian Party publicity of their plans to support local manufacturers and harness the region’s untapped potential, the LNP candidates for Rockhampton, Tony Hopkins and Keppel, Adrian de Groot, have shared their party’s vision for the industry.
Headlining their plan was a $20 million Built-in-Queensland co-marketing program to help Queensland manufacturers break into new markets.
LNP candidate for Rockhampton Tony Hopkins hailed his party’s plan to back local manufacturers by helping them market their products, cut red-tape and guarantee no new taxes.
“The LNP will help Central Queensland firms take on the world – and win,” Mr Hopkins said.
“Only the LNP will build a strong economy, create new jobs and invest in major projects like the New Bradfield Scheme which will create a decade of jobs.”
He said one of the keys to helping local manufacturers was having the right policy on power prices.
“The KAP have taken our policy on electricity competition, as the LNP announced long ago, an end to the Ergon monopoly,” he said.
“The LNP’s plan will drive down electricity prices by around $300 a year.
“Regional Qlders shouldn’t be treated like second class citizens and should have the same deals offered in South East Queensland.”
He accused the Labor Government of failing to adequately support businesses.
“Before coronavirus hit Queensland has one of the worst unemployment rates, business confidence was in free fall and we had the most bankruptcies, all on Labor’s watch,” he said.
“Under Labor, $1.2 billion in government contracts have been awarded to companies that are based outside Queensland.
“They clearly aren’t serious about backing Queensland businesses and supporting Queensland jobs.”
LNP candidate for Keppel Adrian de Groot said he was disturbed by the loss of local manufacturing jobs under the Queensland Government.
“Under Labor, fewer products are being produced in Queensland and jobs are being exported to other states and overseas,” Mr de Groot said.
“Manufacturing will be front and centre of our economic future under the LNP and a Deb Frecklington Government will stand up for manufacturing jobs.
“In the past 12 months 500 manufacturing jobs have been lost in Central Queensland – a decline of more than 6 per cent. One job loss is one too many.”
LNP Shadow Minister for Manufacturing Andrew Powell said the new fund would help Queensland manufacturers recover from five years of Labor’s anti-business agenda.
Since Annastacia Palaszczuk became Premier in 2015, he said more than 18,000 manufacturing jobs had been lost in Queensland.
“It’s time to make Built-in-Queensland a global brand,” Mr Powell said.
“The LNP’s $20 million fund will help Queensland manufacturers market their products in Australia and overseas.
“Whether it’s an interstate trade show promoting Queensland manufacturing products, or an emerging international market where there are new opportunities, Queensland manufacturers will be able to apply and access matching funds to promote their Queensland-built products.”
Incumbent local Labor MP’s, Keppel’s Brittany Lauga and Rockhampton’s Barry O’Rourke have been approached for comment.