Palaszczuk jobs agenda focuses on statewide jobs growth

Published Friday, 18 November, 2016 at 02:02 PM

Premier and Minister for the Arts
The Honourable Annastacia Palaszczuk

The Palaszczuk Government’s Working Queensland Cabinet Committee is implementing its jobs agenda, with Government projects and initiatives complimenting private sector investment across the state.

Returning from a trade mission to Queensland’s second largest export market Japan this morning, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the Cabinet Committee meeting was briefed on projects and programs that are creating thousands of jobs in industries and communities in Queensland.

“My Government is determined to create jobs and opportunities for Queenslanders,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“We are working with the private sector and other levels of Government to produce these opportunities for employment and investment.”

The Premier said while Queensland’s unemployment rate had fallen to 6% trend since the last election, some parts of the state, especially in regional Queensland, still face significant economic challenges.

The Premier said her Government was focussed on generating even more jobs and opportunities for Queenslanders.

Other specific projects the Cabinet Committee discussed today included:

  • 7509 construction jobs and 5906 operational jobs for 19 major private sector projects, with a combined private sector investment of $26 billion, supported by the Department of State Development including the Carmichael Coal project and the associated rail and port projects (5,000 construction jobs and 4,500 jobs at peak of operations);
  • 2000 construction jobs and 8000 ongoing jobs for the Queen’s Wharf Brisbane development to feature five luxury hotels, 2000 apartments, restaurants, retail, extensive public realm and a bridge to South Bank;
  • more than 1300 construction jobs the Logan Motorway Enhancement Program, valued at more than $450 million, deliver faster travel times for motorists, generate an additional $1.2 billion in economic activity;
  • up to 1000 construction jobs and increase the existing onsite workforce at The Star Jupiters Hotel and Casino property on the Gold Coast through its proposed Master Plan;
  • 750 jobs with the construction of the North Queensland Stadium in Townsville;
  • 610 jobs supported through the allocation of $79.2 million through Round Two of the Government’s Building our Regions program for 51 projects, which will also attract $117.6 million of investment from councils and other organisations;
  • 553 full-time equivalent jobs, including 330.8 FTEs in the Townsville region, on the progress on the Accelerated Works Program.

The Premier said the Cabinet Committee, which had met throughout Queensland prior to the State Budget in June, today assessed not just the delivery of major new projects, but the Government’s job-generating programs.

“I know that while many parts of Queensland are experiencing strong jobs and economic growth, others aren’t,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“My Government’s jobs agenda is delivering on our commitment to create jobs, with a particular focus on regional Queensland.

“Every single one of our jobs programs is delivering jobs right now across Queensland.”

The Cabinet Committee was also briefed on Government programs:

  • First Home Owners Grant: The Committee was briefed on the significant uptake in the First Home Owner’s Grant Scheme since the Treasurer increased the grant from $15,000 to $20,000 in the 2016-17 Budget, delivering construction jobs and helping Queenslanders buy their first home. To date, 1779 applications worth $35.58 million with 945 grants worth $18.9 million already approved.
  • Back to Work update: The Committee was briefed on the rollout of the Back to Work regional jobs package, which provides grants to businesses that employ new staff. Back to Work grants were recently doubled from $10,000 to $20,000 for unemployed youth. More than 700 Queenslanders have been employed by the program (which began in August).
  • Market-led proposals: Currently four projects in Stage 2 detailed assessment phase;
  • Integrated resort developments: Status update on ASF Consortium process on the Gold Coast and far north Queensland casino licence process;
  • Building Queensland and State Infrastructure Plan: Committee discussed the Government’s $40 billion four-year capital works program (supporting 31,000 jobs this year alone), including the Accelerated Works Program. The Committee was also updated on multi-Government projects including Cross River Rail (supporting 65,000 jobs including station precincts once constructed), major renewable energy projects including six commercial solar farms (500 direct jobs);
  • Advancing Our Cities and Regions: The Committee was briefed on the first four high-priority AOCR initiatives (Cross River Rail, Townsville, Rockhampton and Moreton Bay), as well as emerging opportunities with the potential to support tens of thousands of jobs;
  • Skilling Queenslanders for Work (SQW): The Committee was briefed thatSQW is on track to break through the ambitious target of 32,000 participants from $240 million over four years funding with 21,587 signed up from $90 million funding in about 18 months. Participants receive nationally recognised training to give them the skills they need to equip them for work. The program is targeted at youth, long-term unemployed, disabled, aged, women and, already, 3,500 participants have gained work as a direct result of the program;
  • Jobs Queensland: The Committee was briefed on a program of consultation across the state on a project to review the apprenticeship and traineeship system and the development of a workforce plan for tourism with the new Industry Reference Group;
  • Business Development Fund: The Committee was briefed on the $40 million Fund, which has already secured deals with five proponents totalling $5.375 million in new investment, with a further five applications currently under serious consideration
  • Northern Australian Roads Program and Beef Roads Program: The Committee was briefed on the Northern Australia Roads Program (NARP) and the Northern Australia Beef Roads Program (NABRP), which will fund infrastructure projects worth $355 million and support 394 jobs

The Premier said recent economic data showed that Government infrastructure spending – through our $40 billion State Infrastructure Plan - was driving Queensland’s nation-leading domestic economic growth.

“We also know Queensland has a far bigger public and private infrastructure pipeline than New South Wales and Victoria,” Ms Palaszczuk said.

“We are providing support to existing businesses through our Back to Work and Skilling Queenslanders for Work programs, as well as enticing new job opportunities and new businesses through our industry attraction fund and business development fund.

“And we are facilitating job-generating private sector infrastructure projects through our innovative Market-Led proposals framework.

“All these policies and many others are aimed at getting Queenslanders into work.

“We know some people are doing it tough. My message to them is that you have a Government that is listening to you, that is working day and night to give you job opportunities that help support you and your family.

“The LNP drove unemployment to 6.6%. Queensland’s unemployment rate is currently 6% trend and we are determined to drive it lower.

“The reality is, the former Newman-Nicholls LNP Government was focussed on sacking Queenslanders. My Labor Government is backing Queenslanders.”

Ministers in attendance at the Working Queensland Cabinet Committee included:

  • Deputy Premier, Minister for Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning and Minister for Trade and Investment, Jackie Trad
  • Treasurer, Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships and Minister for Sport, Curtis Pitt
  • Minister for State Development and Minister for Natural Resources and Mines, Dr Anthony Lynham
  • Minister for Transport and the Commonwealth Games, Stirling Hinchliffe
  • Minister for Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports and Minister for Energy, Biofuels and Water Supply, Mark Bailey
  • Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Minister for Racing and Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Grace Grace