Abbott Government Snubs The Illawarra

Local Federal Members, Sharon Bird and Stephen Jones, have today called on the Abbott Government to immediately reinstate the Illawarra Local Employment Coordinator and place Entrepreneur Program advisers in the Illawarra following recent job losses across the region, particularly in mining and manufacturing.


In June 2014, the Abbott Government cut the Illawarra Local Employment Coordinator position from the Illawarra.


Yesterday Geelong received a $14 million Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre, $500,000 towards establishing a P-TECH model at Newcomb Secondary College and commitments to establish a new Job Connections Office, Geelong Region Future Jobs Taskforce and an extension of the Geelong Employment Facilitator. 


The Government also assists businesses in regions with Entrepreneur Program advisers – yet apparently none are located in the Illawarra.


Sharon Bird said it was vital that all regions in transition, particularly regions suffering from mass redundancies, received support from the Government.


“Local workers are crying out for support here in the Illawarra.  We have had a number of rounds of retrenchments in mining and manufacturing the Abbott Government has done nothing,” Sharon Bird said. 


“We don’t begrudge Geelong receiving assistance, but funds must be allocated fairly.


“The Abbott Government must reinstate the Illawarra Local Employment Coordinator and locate Entrepreneur program advisers in the region to help local businesses improve their competitiveness.


“The community in the Illawarra has come together with some proposals under the Save our Steel campaign.  I hope that Tony Abbott and relevant Ministers meet with representatives from the Illawarra next week.


“As the region is struggling to adjust to a downturn in mining and manufacturing, and record high levels of youth unemployment, the government still has no plan for jobs in the Illawarra.” Stephen Jones said