Labor Senator Helen Polley today called on Liberal Member for Bass Andrew Nikolic to support a $28 million investment into the University of Tasmania’s Northern Health Initiative that would have created hundreds of jobs.
“During last year’s federal election campaign, Labor pledged an additional $28 million over four years to build on the initiative, which would boost regional health services and train much-needed health workers.
“Labor’s additional funding would have seen close to 700 more health students trained every year while also creating 345 new jobs during construction, more than 70 new, ongoing positions and a decade-long $1.2 billion economic return for the state.
“Unfortunately, the Coalition are not as committed to the University of Tasmania and have failed to commit to this important investment.
“Mr Nikolic assumed office with lofty aspirations, but sadly he hasn’t stood up to his own party on policies that are harmful to his electorate. This is the perfect opportunity for him to apply pressure to senior members of his party,” Senator Polley said.
Senator Polley noted that Mr Nikolic’s inertia was indicative of the Liberal party’s approach since assuming office.
“The Coalition’s inaction and ineptitude has seen the demise of Australia’s automotive industry and placed close to a thousand jobs at Victoria’s SPC Ardmona plant in jeopardy, effectively signalling the end of the fruit processing industry in this country.
“Mr Nikolic and his Coalition colleagues aren’t concerned about saving industries, investing in new projects, protecting jobs nor seizing new opportunities. They are stuck in opposition mode and out of their depth.”
Senator Polley said that Mr Nikolic is more concerned with his own political ambitions rather than the people of Bass.
“We know that Mr Nikolic is a strong campaigner but he needs to realise that his priorities must lie with delivering outcomes for people in his electorate. When it comes to assisting the University of Tasmania to reach new heights his only response has been to say that ‘public funding is very challenging’. I certainly hope that when it comes to funding this incredible initiative, he finds his voice and acts.
“It will enable the university to not only survive but prosper in 2014 and beyond.”