Labor Senator Helen Polley has called on the “three amigos” to focus their energies on jobs in northern Tasmania rather than their own personal political ambitions.
The call comes as poppy processing company TPI Enterprises announced that it was relocating from Cressy to Melbourne, with some workers to be offered the prospect of relocation and others made redundant.
Senator Polley said that the closure was further evidence that leadership was needed from Eric Hutchinson, Andrew Nikolic and Brett Whiteley.
“The relocation of TPI Enterprises is another nail in the coffin of job opportunities in northern Tasmania. It is a sad reality that the three amigos, including Mr Hutchinson, have stood by and done nothing as the situation has worsened.
“Over the last year I have spoken about the closure of the Australian Tax Office in Launceston at a cost of 20 jobs. I have spoken about the closure of PSG Russell Smith, at a cost of 182 jobs across the state.
“I have also spoken on numerous occasions about Christopher Pyne’s higher education reforms which will see $30 million dollars’ worth of funding cut from the University of Tasmania, imperilling jobs at the university.
“On each occasion I have been met with deafening silence from Mr Hutchinson, Mr Nikolic and Mr Whiteley. They are more interested in appeasing the job-killing policies of Tony Abbott and company than standing up for their constituents.”
Senator Polley also noted that numerous programmes aimed at creating jobs have been axed under the watch of the three amigos.
“These three men did nothing whilst the Abbott Government cancelled the nearly $1 billion Tools for Your Trade program.
“The Abbott Government also axed the Apprenticeship Access Program and the Apprenticeship Mentoring Program, leaving vulnerable job seekers trying to enter skilled employment feeling completely abandoned.
“Team Abbott is also responsible for slashing over $2 billion in investment in skills and training by abolishing programs including the National Workforce Development Fund, the Accelerated Apprenticeships Programme, the Apprenticeship to Business Owner Programme and the National Partnership Agreement on Training Places for Single Parents just to name a few.”
Senator Polley said that the cessation of these policies makes the relocation of TPI Enterprises especially grave.
“Those workers at TPI who aren’t willing to relocate to Melbourne, who want to remain part of their local community in northern Tasmania, need help and support to find new employment.
“Sadly this Government has axed valuable programmes aimed at assisting vulnerable job seekers, meaning that they have been left high and dry. I certainly hope that the three amigos find their voice and stand up to Tony Abbott.”
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