Western Australia will be run by remote control if Colin Barnett’s Liberal Party is elected this year, because he will not stand up for the State.
That was the reaction of Consumer and Employment Protection Minister John Kobelke to the State Liberal leader’s claim that only the Howard Government had anything to do with WA’s record low unemployment.
“The real worry is that if a Barnett Government was elected, he would be a puppet of Canberra, which would make him unable to argue for a better deal,” Mr Kobelke said.
“WA’s unemployment rate of 4.4 per cent is the lowest of any State in Australia, our best result in 29 years and significantly below the jobless rate that the last Liberal Government left us with.”
The Minister said he was shocked to think Mr Barnett had no vision for creating more jobs in WA and that he was obviously leaving that up to the Howard Government.
“This is the same Colin Barnett who said the Gallop Government’s Labour Relations Reform Bill (that was passed in 2002) would be a ‘barrier to young people getting jobs’,” he added.
“Well, it was not and since the Gallop Government was elected, the youth unemployment rate has been slashed by more than half - down from 29.7 per cent in February 2001 to 13.8 per cent now.
Mr Barnett’s lack of vision is not surprising, because he is a whinger with form - back in May 2002 he claimed our industrial relations reforms would have ‘a seriously detrimental impact on the State’s economy, business operators and employment prospects’ so he must be embarrassed now.”
Mr Kobelke said not only had WA delivered the highest economic growth rate of any State last year, it had had the best productivity over the past three years and almost 30,000 new jobs were created in the past 12 months alone.
“The unemployment rate in WA has fallen 2.2 per cent since Mr Barnett made his doom and gloom predictions and tens of thousands of people have new jobs,” the Minister said.
Mr Kobelke said the reforms had also seen WA’s minimum wage increase by almost $100 a week for the State’s lowest paid workers and the Gallop Government had helped to provide a buoyant economic climate and confidence for employers.
“The Liberal leader should get his act together; he cannot say on the one hand that our State policies do have an impact - then, when his doom and gloom forecast fails and things improve, turn around and give all the credit to Canberra,” he said.
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