AMWU State Secretary Steve McCartney joined 6PR Morning host Gary Adshead yesterday morning to talk about how the local manufacturing industry is struggling as WA experiences a recession.
New figures from the Australia Bureau of Statistics show Western Australia’s posted it’s worst performance since 1989, with final demand plunging 3.8 per cent in the September quarter, a fall far larger than any other state or territory. This comes on the back of the local economy shrinking 2.7 per cent in the June quarter.
To make matters worse, WA now has the highest unemployment rate in the country at 6.5 per cent.
Steve talked about how these conditions have been hitting local industries and businesses hard, and reiterated that the State Government has completely failed to proactively step up and support local industry.
The Barnett Government has failed to campaign for WA jobs on defence projects. They’ve failed to ensure local jobs and content are used on State Government projects. And they’ve failed to deliver a real plan to create and protect WA jobs.
Steve specifically pointed out to an example of railcar manufacturing, an industry with a long history in Western Australia. Right now, thousands of WA fabricated railcars are transporting millions of tonnes of iron ore through the Pilbara, and dozens of WA fabricated Transperth carriages help take Perth commuters on millions of trips every year.
But the State Government wants to purchase 300 railcars for Transperth over the next decade from overseas.
Of all the things a State Government can do to create jobs, maximising the involvement of local workers and businesses in the delivery of government services should be should be one of the easiest. As taxpayers, we should demand no less.
Steve has urged the State Government to get behind local companies and workers when procuring for future rail projects and put forward our Plan for WA Jobs. Colin Barnett would do well to take a look at our plan. If he did, he might realise that the solution to the State’s problems are already here.