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First rise in local unemployment rate for 2 ½ years highlights business nervousness about Rudd Government.



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Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33 0408 532 785 Email:greg.pierce@aph.gov.au Canberra: 62 77 4447

Luke Hartsuyker MP Federal Member for Cowper

MEDIA RELEASE

April 2, 2008

First rise in local unemployment rate for 2 ½ years highlights business nervousness about Rudd Government

The latest unemployment figures for the local region showed small business was nervous about a return to Union control in the workplace and the Rudd Government’s capacity to manage the economy, The Nationals Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, said today.

The Small Area Labor Market figures for the December 2007 quarter released this week show that after ten consecutive quarters of declining unemployment, the unemployment rate has increased in all Statistical Local Areas (SLA) in the Cowper electorate.

The latest figures for SLAs in the Cowper electorate are as follows:

Mr Hartsuyker said the increase in the local unemployment rate highlighted business nervousness about the new Rudd Government.

“Small business will hire additional staff if they have confidence in the economy and the growth potential of their business.

“Over the past three years local small business confidence has been the catalyst to creating more than 8,400 jobs across our region. As a result our region’s unemployment rate dropped for ten consecutive quarters.

SLA Sep 07 Dec 07

Bellingen 8.0% 8.2%

Coffs Harbour (A) 7.1% 7.3% Coffs Harbour (B) 7.1% 7.3% Grafton 6.4% 6.7%

Kempsey 8.8% 9.0%

Maclean 7.5% 7.7%

Nambucca 10.4% 10.8%

Pristine Waters - Ulmarra 8.6% 8.8%

Pristine Waters - Nymboida 6.1% 6.4%

Media Contact: Greg Pierce 02 66 52 62 33. Mobile 0408 532 785 Email: greg.pierce@aph.gov.au Canberra: 6277 4447

“These latest figures reflect doubts in local business confidence. They show that business is unsure whether Mr Rudd has the capacity to keep the economy strong.

“It is also shows that business is uncertain about Mr Rudd’s capacity to keep Union control out of the workplace and whether Labor will reintroduce unfair dismissal laws.

“Mr Rudd and Treasurer Wayne Swan have also committed the cardinal sin of talking down the strength of the Australian economy.

“The net result of such Government rhetoric is a drop in business investment and the loss of jobs.

“My main concern is that this is the beginning of an upward trend in unemployment.”

Mr Hartsuyker said uncertainty over the future of a number of regional development programmes plus the axing of such projects as the expansion of the Coffs Harbour Centrelink Call Centre was also having an impact locally.

“The creation of an additional 126 new jobs at the Centrelink Call Centre would have provided a career path for many local people and injected millions of dollars into the regional economy each year,” Mr Hartsuyker said.

“The Rudd Government’s decision to axe the expansion was a real kick in the guts for the local community. For some it signalled the low priority the Rudd Government placed on regional development and job creation.”

Ends

Attached: A chart of the unemployment rates for Statistical Local Areas in the Cowper electorate for the past 11 quarterly periods.

Unemployment rate in Statistical Local Areas in the Cowper Electorate June 2005 Quarter to December 2007 Quarter

June 05 Sep05 Dec05 Mar 06 June 06 Sep06 Dec06 Mar 07 June 07 Sep 07 Dec 07

Bellingen 11.6% 11.6% 11.0% 10.7% 10.4% 9.8% 9.0% 8.7% 8.5% 8.0% 8.2% Coffs Harbour (A)

9.6% 9.6% 9.2% 9.0% 9.0% 8.6% 8.0% 7.8% 7.5% 7.1% 7.3%

Coffs Harbour (B)

9.3% 9.4% 9.1% 8.9% 8.8% 8.3% 7.7% 7.5% 7.4% 7.1% 7.3%

Grafton 8.3% 8.3% 7.9% 7.8% 7.7% 7.4% 6.9% 6.7% 6.6% 6.4% 6.7% Kempsey 11.2% 11.2% 10.7% 10.4% 10.3% 9.8% 9.3% 9.3% 9.1% 8.8% 9.0% Maclean 10.1% 10.1% 9.6% 9.3% 9.1% 8.7% 8.1% 8.0% 7.8& 7.5% 7.7% Nambucca 14.8% 14.6% 13.9% 13.7% 13.6% 13.0% 12.2% 11.5% 11.0% 10.4% 10.8% Pristine Waters - Ulmarra 11.4% 11.2% 10.5% 10.2% 10.1% 9.6% 9.1% 9.0% 8.9% 8.6% 8.8%

Pristine Waters -Nymboida 8.1% 8.1% 7.7% 7.5% 7.5% 7.1% 6.7% 6.5% 6.3% 6.1% 6.4%