Tweed Nationals’ Geoff Provest
Tweed Nationals’ Geoff Provest

See-saw ride for workers

AUSTRALIAN Bureau of Statistics records show that despite some wild ups and downs during the global financial crisis, jobs steadily rose until November before slumping over Christmas and New Year.

Local candidates in the March 26 state election yesterday jumped on the figures to argue their policies were the best for jobs on the NSW North Coast.

Labor, the Nationals and Greens viewpoints differ greatly, with the Nationals blaming higher taxes than in Queensland for hurting Tweed's economy, while Labor warned of massive spending cuts and axed jobs if the Coalition wins.

The Greens argue the Tweed needs to broaden its economic base and create jobs in industries such as rooftop solar power and ecotourism.

The bureau's figures show that in the local statistical region, which covers Tweed, Richmond and the Mid-North Coast, the number of people employed had fallen 5300 in January to 237,500 from an all-time high in November of 242,800.

National Party MP for Tweed Geoff Provest yesterday said it was cheaper to employ staff in Queensland.

“Last year in South Tweed there were around 70 to 80 vacant shops and factories. Today there's around 165,” he said.

Mr Provest said the Coalition would work to establish a “level playing field with Queensland”, which had lower stamp duties and payroll tax.

“Payroll tax in Queensland is around 4%. We pay about 5%,” Mr Provest said.

“Queensland has a threshold of a million dollars. We have a threshold of $640,000.

He said the Nationals and Liberals would also slash red tape which affected small business and offer an incentive of $7000 for people moving to regional areas.

Labor candidate for Tweed Reece Byrnes said the biggest risk to Tweed jobs “is the election of Geoff Provest and an O'Farrell government”.

“Last time the Coalition was in government they cut services, closed schools and sacked thousands,” Mr Byrnes warned. “

Geoff Provest must come clean and guarantee no Tweed families will have their jobs and lives destroyed by having Barry O'Farrell in government in Sydney.”

Greens candidate for Tweed Andrea Vickers said the current big employers in Tweed were the building industry, services and tourism.

“We need to diversify our economic base by supporting renewable energy industry such as rooftop solar power and niche marketing of those things that make our region unique, such as specialty agricultural produce and ecotourism,” Ms Vickers said.

“We can't continue to rely on a building boom for economic growth, as it will destroy what is unique about Tweed.

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