Local Liberals & Nationals – No Plans, No Policies And No Interest In The Illawarra

Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones have called on the Liberal and National candidates in Cunningham and Whitlam to match Labor’s plans and commitments to the Illawarra. 

“There are seven days left in this campaign and we have heard no plans and no policies for the Illawarra from the Coalition. It’s not good enough. 

“This week the local Coalition candidates need to take the election and the region seriously and match every single one of Labor’s commitments to the Illawarra’, Sharon Bird said. 

Labor has positive plans for the Illawarra including: 

  • Steel Industry Plan – Labor has a plan for the long-term sustainability of our steel industry and the jobs it creates and supports.
  • Build Maldon-Dombarton - $50 million in funding and a commitment to work with the private sector to build the stalled Maldon-Dombarton rail link.
  • Improving Road Safety - $50 million to improve the safety of Appin Road.
  • Better Legal Services - $300,000 commitment to fund frontline legal services provided by the Illawarra Legal Service.
  • Community Facilities - $200,000 contribution towards the extension and fit out of Bulli Surf Life Saving Club.
  • Disability Employment Services – Labor has committed to supporting Australian Disability Enterprises such as Greenacres, Flagstaff and the Disability Trust.
  • Access to Justice – funding for a permanent, full-time judge for the Wollongong Federal Circuit Court to relieve the backlog crippling the Wollongong court system.
  • Arts Support - $100,000 funding to upgrade Bowral Memorial Hall to ensure better access to touring productions for the community.
  • Education – Labor has committed $59 million in extra funding for local schools in Cunningham and Whitlam. 

These Illawarra-specific commitments are in addition to Labor’s delivery of the Gonski education reforms and funding on time and in full, protecting penalty rates, a funding guarantee for TAFE, investing in skilling our future workforce, additional hospital funding and our commitment to renewable energy. 

Labor will also unfreeze the Medicare rebate and reverse cuts to bulk billing incentives for pathology and radiology services. This means patients will pay less for GP visits, x-rays and blood tests. 

Labor will also fix Malcolm Turnbull’s mess and re-start the roll out of Fibre-To-The-Premises NBN. 

Sharon Bird said that the Coalition were yet to make a specific commitment for the region.  

“The Coalition have refused to back the steel industry.  

“The Coalition have refused to back the Maldon Dombarton rail link.  

“The Coalition have refused to back TAFE and is a complete policy-free zone when it comes to apprentices and training. 

“If the Liberals expect anyone in the region to take them seriously they have seven days to match our commitments. 

Stephen Jones said that the difference between Labor and the Coalition locally at this election could not be starker – Labor has a plan for the region and Mr Turnbull and the Liberals don’t. 

“Once again the local Coalition candidates are hoping that some sort of trickle-down policy solutions will be good enough for local residents but they’re not,” Mr Jones said. 

“The hard-working people of the Illawarra do not want to see $50 billion of taxpayer funds disappear out of their pockets and go towards a tax break for big business – most of which will go directly to overseas shareholders,” Mr Jones said. 

“If Mr Turnbull is re-elected on July 2, the Illawarra will continue to be ignored,” Mr Jones said. 

The only way to make sure that these real plans and real solutions for the Illawarra are implemented is to elect a Shorten Labor Government. 

FRIDAY, 24 JUNE 2016