Gilmore: Create more jobs and job is yours

Neil Reilly with Parliamentary Secretary for Employment Jason Clare and apprentices Blake Matthews and Beau Kramp. Picture: SOUTH COAST REGISTERJobs creation could be the key to winning over Gilmore voters with the area consistently rating among Australia’s worst for unemployment.The three major parties’ candidates for the seat have acknowledged jobs will be a top priority when voters step up to the ballot box in four weeks.In Shellharbour, the latest unemployment rate stands at 8.1 per cent, while Shoalhaven is faring slightly better on 6.9 per cent.Both are well above the national average of 5.1 per cent.Of the local government areas in Gilmore, only Kiama falls under the average figure.On the campaign trail in Nowra yesterday to promote Labor’s newly announced national trade cadetship scheme, Gilmore candidate Neil Reilly said unemployment would be a major focus for the party leading into the election.He said figures across the electorate had been high for 14 years and the situation could not be turned around in just one term.”The figures aren’t pretty but we can change that,” he said.”This is like turning around a battleship, you can’t just dip in an oar.”He said the cadetship program, to be introduced to the curriculum in 2012, would provide pre-apprenticeship training to school children in Years 9 to 12, acting as the party’s first step towards addressing unemployment in the region.Also placing a strong emphasis on apprenticeship training, Liberal incumbent Joanna Gash said supporting small businesses, attracting big industry to the area and creating jobs for unskilled workers would be a priority.”We have a shortage of jobs available for unskilled workers and one way we’re looking at addressing that is by introducing a ‘green army’ which would comprise 15,000 people as an environmental workforce,” she said.For Greens candidate Ben van der Wijngaart, creating jobs for Gilmore constituents isn’t about carefully timed announcements.”I’m very wary of fancy new schemes that are supposedly going to be a silver bullet to remedy all of our issues,” he said.Mr van der Wijngaart said creating green jobs and boosting the agriculture industry would put a sizeable dent in the region’s unemployment figures.”We have great opportunities in Gilmore to take on sustainable agriculture, not just in dairy, but we can become the food bowl for the area and into Sydney,” he said.

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