HEARING CONCERNS: Lismore MP Thomas George and Nationals candidate for the seat Austin Curtin host a tradies breakfast in Murwillumbah.
HEARING CONCERNS: Lismore MP Thomas George and Nationals candidate for the seat Austin Curtin host a tradies breakfast in Murwillumbah. Scott Powick

Tradies raise concerns about future over breakfast with MP

INCOMING apprentices, flooding and training were some of the key issues on the minds of about 80 tradies who shared a bacon and egg roll with Lismore MP Thomas George earlier today.

The casual breakfast meeting at O'Connors Carrying Service in Murwillumbah was a chance for tradies to share their thoughts and concerns about the future of their varying industries with the local MP.

O'Connors managing director Paul O'Connor said after having suffered extensive flood damage during the March 2017 floods, he was thankful to "be back on track” with the support of Mr George but there was still a lot that could be done in terms of flood mitigation for small businesses.

"We're still dealing with insurance issues now,” Mr O'Connor said.

"My biggest issue is that I want to move out of here from flood area and council has been very helpful with the land swap deal but it's just not going to happen quick enough.

"It's going to take a few years before that happens. It's very likely we're going to get another flood but here we also have growth issues.”

The soon-to-retire Mr George, who was flanked by Nationals candidate for the seat of Lismore Austin Curtin, said several tradies expressed their concerns to him this morning about working in flood levels.

"The government is making sure they're up out of flood levels, and council is doing that,” he said.

Mr George said another issue raised by many tradies was that young people didn't seem to have the necessary skills to start their apprenticeships.

"If they're looking at getting young people for a job, they're concerned that kids are turning up with no experience,” he said.

"That's where we've got to make sure that TAFE provides a pre-apprenticeship course.

"So, when they go say into carpentry and they're talking about a hammer, they know what a hammer is.

"It would give them the experience because a lot of the young people don't have that experience at home, where in my era we were a lot more practical and you had to know those things.

"If we provide that opportunity, it can make them more job ready.”



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