Libs focus on jobs to start campaign
WA Liberals have begun their 2017 election campaign by highlighting 30,181 jobs created through Government works.
Senior Minister Joe Francis appeared in Burswood last week with the stadium construction site as a backdrop to unveil a mobile sign claiming the jobs “wouldn’t exist” under Labor.
Mr Francis said Labor had opposed projects including the Burswood Stadium, Elizabeth Quay, Roe 8 and the new museum.
“There are few problems in society today that can’t be solved by giving people meaningful employment,” he said.
“And 30,181 jobs, a significant number, would not have existed and will not exist if Mark McGowan and the Labor Party had their way.”
When pointed out that before the 2013 election Labor committed to a new stadium at Subiaco and a scaled-down waterfront development, Mr Francis said the Subiaco option would have been much smaller and the riverfront works little more than “a fountain”.
Asked whether the Liberals should be campaigning on jobs when unemployment had risen sharply in recent years, Mr Francis said “could you imagine what (the figures) would be if we hadn’t done these projects”.
Mr Francis said jobs was “the biggest issue in WA” and suggested the Government should borrow more money for more capital works.
“State revenue for one year’s Budget is about the same (as debt), it’s about a one-year debt to revenue ratio, I honestly don’t have a problem with that if it means building infrastructure for a growing population and the ability to pay it off when interest rates are low. I think it makes perfect sense,” he said.
State debt was $27.3 billion in 2015-16 and projected to hit $40 billion by 2018-19 with no downward trajectory in the forward estimates.
State Treasurer Mike Nahan has consistently argued net debt is too high and lambasted Labor’s approach to paying it off over time.
Opposition Leader Mark McGowan said WA under the Liberal National Government had the highest number of unemployed and underemployed people, triple what it was when Labor left office.
“The Liberal Party and the National Party have been disastrous for jobs in WA,” he said.
Senior Minister Joe Francis.