Pages tagged "Jobs"

  • Water in Werribee South- 8 things you should know

    Call on Federal Water Minister Barnaby Joyce to invest in Werribee South

    Irrigation infrastructure in Werribee South is old and in desperate need of repair.

    1.  Approximately 40% of water supplied to farmers is lost to cracked channels and evaporation. Market gardeners have relied on a shandy of river water from river and recycled water from the nearby Western Treatment Plant to continue to grow the food that we put on our tables every night.
    2. Farmers are paying the highest price for water in Victoria and receive around 10-15% of what they pay for. This is all the fresh water that can be supplied as water authorities balance the needs of the fragile Werribee River ecosystem with the needs of farmers.By investing in up-to-date irrigation technology and pipelines, less precious river water is lost and farmers don't lose what they pay for.
    3. The annual turnover by these farmers is estimated to be over $100 million a year, with the industry employing an estimated 1,000 people every day.
    4. Werribee South produces 85 per cent of the state’s cauliflowers, 53 per cent of the broccoli, and around 34 per cent of the lettuce for supermarkets like Coles and Woolworths.
    5. They also export produce overseas, as recognised by Minister for Trade Andrew Robb. He visited the local business Fresh Select in August to praise them for their operation and planned exports to China. And he referred to their great work in a Press Club speech on 12 August and in question time that week.
    6. The State Government and Southern Rural Water have been discussing plans for how to upgrade infrastructure in Werribee South. Given the areas importance for Australia's food supply and export significance (as recognised by Trade Minister Robb), Barnaby Joyce should work with Victoria to secure the region's future.
    7. I have spoken in parliament on the issue and written twice to Barnaby Joyce calling on him to give Federal support. Three months on and there has been no reply from him. It seems he is more worried about how ready he is to be Deputy Prime Minister than he is at doing his day job as water minister.
    8. If Barnaby Joyce is serious about helping farmers, and this government wants to see more export of fresh produce, then they need to work with Victoria to deliver upgrades and long-term investment.



    If you want the Federal Water Minister to care about Werribee South and for Victorian farmers, contact his office and tell them we want water investment in Werribee South!


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  • Qantas

    I rise to speak in response to appeals from Qantas workers living in my community. Once again, and it is becoming a sadly familiar occurrence, I am being contacted by anxious members of my community, worried about their futures. As recently as last night, one of my constituents contacted me, concerned about jobs being sent offshore—not Qantas jobs but call centre jobs and public service jobs, because there is a roll-on effect. It seems, in the short time I have been in this place, I have spent most of my time advocating for workers in my electorate who, under the Abbott government, have lost their jobs or are in peril of doing so. And it is not just the workers I worry for; it is their families, their children, their husbands, their wives. We on this side understand the role government plays in job creation and keeping a community stable and flourishing. This is why, under Labor's watch, nearly one million jobs were created.

    The sense of deja vu is overwhelming, standing here saying the same thing I said two weeks ago and yet it has had no impact. There is still no plan. There has been no action taken to avoid the Qantas losses, and the figures do not include the cruel state of anxiety that the workers have endured for weeks while Qantas went public with the plan to cut 5,000 jobs but did not share specifics with the workers. I am not inured to the pain of my neighbours in the face of such an announcement or to the cumulative impact of the rolling job losses occurring in my community. These are real people with real feelings and pressures. These are families with mortgages, school costs and children to rear. I empathise. I remember well the shock of suddenly being reduced to one wage, and part time at that, while raising three children. I know personally the anxiety of income stress, mortgage stress, the worry about the next bill.

    Paul Keating described this Prime Minister as economically illiterate. I fear the truth is far worse. His lack of action shows no empathy or feeling for his own country men and women. Those opposite seem to enjoy the sport of parliament, winning petty points and cheering each other's smart alec comments. What they do not seem to have an interest in is the wellbeing of the 23 million people we are here to represent. The fact that 63,000 jobs have been lost since September seems to be a point of pride. We all remember the astonishing day when the Treasurer actually goaded General Motors Holden, one of Australia's most loved and respected companies, to leave our shores. And they did, as did Toyota, as did Alcoa, and, tragically for my community and many others in Australia, so did 63,000 jobs—and counting. When the Prime Minister promised he would create a million jobs in five years, perhaps he was telling the truth, but we are all waiting for actions to match the rhetoric. I urge the government to act on Australian jobs for the people of my electorate.

  • Statement on Manufacturing Job Losses

    Just like Labor members speaking before me today, I have an electorate that depends upon manufacturing. More Wyndham residents work in manufacturing than in any other industry: 10.6 per cent of local people work as machine operators and drivers, which is almost double the national average and represents more than 10,000 workers. 15 per cent work in related industries as tradespeople and technicians, constituting another 15,000 local residents. So Monday's announcement regarding Toyota was a heavy blow for my community, not just for those working directly for Toyota but for those in components industries and those working for related small businesses. What the government do not seem to understand is that the economy is akin to an ecosystem and when you rip huge holes in it the shockwaves spread.

    This will spread across our community: to the contracted technicians and cleaners who depend upon work from Toyota; to those who work in the laundries that service the Toyota plant; even to those who work in the local cafe where Toyota employees stop for their morning coffee. The list goes on and on and extends deep into the families and communities of my electorate and into Melbourne's west as a whole. This will hurt husbands, wives, partners and children, neighbours and friends. Many will already be facing financial stress, struggling to meet mortgage or rent payments and pay for groceries. This is yet another burden to bear.

     I know that this is a sentiment being felt around the country, by Holden workers in Elizabeth, by those with Rio Tinto in Nhulunbuy, by SPC employees in Shepparton. The Australian manufacturing industry is hurting and Australian workers are hurting. Yet we have a government that simply does not seem to care, a government so irresponsible they fail to intervene time and time again, even when it will cost hundreds of thousands their livelihood. This back-to-the-future government will take us back to a country that only exports raw materials, like we did last century. This government that cares so little for Australian workers is willing to break promise after promise. I draw your attention to the statement the Prime Minister made on 28 November 2012:

    … I am committing a future coalition government to creating one million new jobs within five years and two million new jobs over the next decade.
    But then, yesterday or the day before, Mr Abbott said in this very chamber, 'Governments do not create jobs,' and he has no plan for manufacturing jobs. So which is it, Prime Minister? Is this your solemn promise?

    If you think it could not get any worse, Mr Deputy Speaker, you would be wrong. Not only have they broken yet another solemn promise to workers; they are now blaming them and demonising them when they lose their jobs. It is easy to swan around parliament in the air conditioning and plush surrounds while at the same time complaining that manufacturing workers have it too easy. Their attitude seems to be: 'They earn too much. They ask too much.' Really? Is a worker who wants fair wages and conditions asking too much?

    Would the Prime Minister be willing to look Toyota workers, Holden workers and SPC workers in the eye this week and tell them they earn too much? Of course he would not, because bullies are really cowards. Instead of bullying Australian workers, maybe the Abbott government should examine its conscience. What kind of government attacks people who have just lost their jobs and spreads misinformation about the conditions of workers so as to mitigate their own responsibility? The answer is just across the chamber.

    The Prime Minister must ask himself these questions and more. Who is he really governing for? If it is not for hardworking Australians, if it is not small businesses and if it is not for Australian industries, then who? A government that believes in a fair, just and more prosperous Australia with opportunity for all would not be doing this. It just would not. We see the starkest contrast between the Liberal and Labor parties. We support workers; they do not. We support the manufacturing industry; they do not. We believe in Australian jobs, and it is clear that they do not. I call on the Abbott government to step up. To support these workers. To just plain care. I call on the government to commit to securing jobs and training for those affected by their irresponsible and callous decision making, because these workers need opportunities, not to join the unemployment queue.


  • Abbott Government Blocks Manufacturing Debate

    Joanne Ryan, Member for Lalor, has described the Abbott Government's decision to block discussion about local manufacturing as a cynical attempt to censor debate.

    Ms Ryan said the Coalition had used their majority in the House of Representatives to avoid further comment regarding the end of Toyota's operations and the troubled manufacturing industry.

    "More Wyndham residents work in manufacturing than in any other industry, but the Abbott Government has deliberately prevented me from raising the concerns of residents regarding job losses," Ms Ryan said.

    "They have suppressed not only my voice - but the voice of every single local resident affected by this issue."

    Ms Ryan said she had hoped she would be able to discuss how the recent Toyota announcement would impact upon workers, their families and the wider community.

    "Instead the Abbott Government has tried to shut down debate and shirk their responsibility in bringing about these job losses."

    "But it is my role to represent the concerns of our community and I will continue to do this - whether the Abbott Government wants me to or not."

  • Toyota Redundancies

    The announcement by Toyota that 100 staff members at their Altona plant will be given voluntary redundancies should be a wake-up call to the Abbott Government.

    In this difficult time for Toyota staff and their families, the Abbott Government needs to stop hiding and give Australia’s car manufacturers, and the thousands of workers they employ, greater certainty.

    Our manufacturers are under enormous pressure and if we want to see major employers like our automotive makers stay in business and keep providing jobs for Australians, then the Abbott Government must stand up.

    Labor recognises the challenging business conditions Toyota faces, and in an intensely competitive international market our manufacturers need certainty to secure new investment.

    This is not just about the 2500 workers at the Toyota Altona plant - many of whom live in my electorate - but about the very future of our car industry.

    The loss of this industry would result in large-scale job losses, as well as an end to ongoing research and development, technological advances and innovation.

    It’s time the Abbott Government provide the automotive industry with a long term commitment that it can bank on.

    The Abbott Government needs to act now.