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Monday, 24 February 2014
Page: 541


Mr NEUMANN (Blair) (13:42): The front page of last Saturday's The Queensland Times revealed the very disturbing news that the unemployment rate in Ipswich is at its highest level in the last 15 years. The Ipswich unemployment rate is currently 11.5 per cent, which is up 2.1 per cent from December, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics. The figures cover Ipswich and out to Esk in my electorate and are very worrying for the constituents of Blair.

The state Labor MP for Bundamba, Jo-Ann Miller, laid the blame squarely with the Queensland LNP government and said:

The Newman government's jobs crisis is being felt particularly hard in the wider Ipswich area. And unfortunately when families suffer, that flows on to the local economy.

Jo-Ann Miller is spot on about this. In 2008 I made a speech in this parliament and I quoted the current unemployment figures for Ipswich and surrounds. The unemployment rate in Ipswich was lower than the state and national averages. That is not so now.

The federal Labor government introduced a $3.9 billion employment services strategy as part of its Nation Building and Jobs Plan, which was the envy of the world. We faced, and faced down, the global financial crisis and we protected jobs in the Ipswich and West Moreton region. Under Labor this nation had the second lowest unemployment rate in the OECD. Having a job is more than just having an income. It is about giving people the chance to connect, participate and achieve the things they want to achieve in life. Now is not the time for this coalition government opposite to cut funding for services and jobs and funding in our region again. (Time expired)