WA Labor launches election campaign with pledge to create 125,000 jobs
Western Australia’s Labor party has promised to create 125,000 new local jobs if it is re-elected for a second term of government on March 13.
- WA Labor is promising to create 125,000 jobs if re-elected in March
- It revives a policy launched two years ago, shelved due to COVID-19
- The plan includes support for local manufacturing of rail components
Premier Mark McGowan made the commitment during the party’s election campaign launch, telling supporters it would build on the 63,000 jobs Labor had created in its first term.
Mr McGowan said the jobs would be created by 2025-26, saying the target was “reasonable, achievable and affordable”.
Ahead of the 2017 state election, Labor promised to fix WA’s “unemployment crisis” and create 50,000 new jobs, saying it would get there by diversifying the economy and bringing back stability and confidence.
In February 2019, Labor pledged to create 150,000 jobs within five years, but the plan was shelved “indefinitely” amid the State Government’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak almost a year ago.
The WA Liberals have already committed to delivering 200,000 new jobs over five years if the party wins the state election.
Mr McGowan said the plan was crucial for the “future prosperity of Western Australia”.
“A plan based around creating new industries, training, tourism, a new film industry, agriculture and aquaculture, constructing Metronet and manufacturing the railcars right here,” Mr McGowan said.
“Regional jobs and Aboriginal employment, maximising jobs and reducing interstate FIFO.”
Pitch to local manufacturers
Mr McGowan said a re-elected Labor government would establish a ‘WA Jobs Taskforce’ — chaired by the Premier — to oversee the plan’s delivery.
“It will map the skills gaps that fuel the use of an interstate FIFO workforce to ensure we train the workforce right here in WA instead,” Mr McGowan said.
“East coast FIFO should be the rare exception. Not a common practice.”
According to the jobs plan, $15 million would be funnelled into helping local manufacturers produce components for rail wagons used by the iron ore industry.
About 300,000 components are required annually for the 32,000 iron ore wagons in WA.
Each wagon is used for up to 30 years before being retired.
Under Labor’s plan, local manufacturers would take over production of the wagon components, with the goal of enabling manufacturers to scale up to producing complete wagons over time.
The plan includes more than $30 million to provide small and medium businesses with access to 300 additional apprentices and trainees over four years.
The Premier reiterated Labor’s pitch to voters throughout the campaign to date, emphasising stability during the COVID-19 pandemic, saying the state must “stay the course”.
“If you’re thinking about voting for me and WA Labor this election, for the very first time, you should feel confident in that decision,” Mr McGowan said.
“I will lead a sensible, responsible, experienced government.”
‘Difficult campaign’ ahead: Kirkup
Meanwhile, Opposition Leader Zak Kirkup was in the Goldfields promising to protect the region’s gold industry.
Mr Kirkup said the WA Liberals faced a “difficult campaign” and “difficult election”.
“I know how tough it’s going to be, we need to look at this with a sense of sober reality,” he said.
“I would encourage people to continue to talk about the issues that matter the most to them and think about the future of WA and what they want our state to look like, not just for the term of government but for the decades to come.
“That’s where the Liberal Party has a very clear plan about where we want our state to head.”
Mr Kirkup continued to warn against the Labor Party taking control of WA’s Parliament if they won a majority in both houses.