Libs fo­cus on jobs to start cam­paign

Pilbara News - - News - Daniel Emer­son

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.

Pic­ture: Me­gan Pow­ell

Se­nior Min­is­ter Joe Fran­cis.

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