Bill in Bundy to give Leanne a boost
FEDERAL Opposition Leader Bill Shorten says only a Labor victory in the upcoming state election can stave off disastrous cuts to the public education system, including Bundaberg Tafe.
It's a claim that has been denied by the LNP, which says the Labor leader sings from the same playbook as Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk - "all fear, smear and no idea”.
On his 29th visit to Queensland this year, Mr Shorten made a brief stop in Bundaberg today during a busy second week of the election campaign to back Member for Bundaberg Leanne Donaldson's push to reclaim her seat.
"Leanne's got her finger on the pulse, and she'll look after and make Bundaberg a region where people can raise families, where the kids don't have to leave to do their Tafe, and where there a good-quality jobs here,” Mr Shorten said.
Mr Shorten visited the Bundaberg Tafe campus and said Tafe funding would go backwards if the LNP won.
"It is too big a risk to education and training in Queensland,” Mr Shorten said.
"When you remember that when Mr Nicholls was last treasurer of Queensland, he oversaw the closure of state schools, a hit list of more schools to be cut and,of course, Tafe did it very hard under the LNP.
"Only Leanne Donaldson and Annastacia Palaszczuk can be trusted to stand up for Tafe.”
But LNP campaign director Lincoln Folo said under Labor, apprentice numbers had fallen off a cliff with more than 60,000 fewer Queenslanders doing some sort of vocational training.
"It is obvious Mr Shorten had nothing positive to add during his taxpayer-funded trip so he should have stayed in Melbourne.”
Mr Shorten's visit coincides with Tafe director Steve Cathcart's recent move back to Bundaberg to rebuild Tafe's position in the community as he seeks to reverse dwindling student numbers.
"The local economy has had an impact,” Mr Cathcart said.
"What we need the community to understand is when students graduate from Tafe they walk away with the skills and capabilities that the industry needs to be sustainable.
"Bundaberg deserves to have a strong public provider.”
Mr Shorten believes Bundaberg is a two-horse race with Ms Donaldson taking on both the LNP and One Nation.
"Do you go with properly funding TAFE, our schools and health care system, do you go with proper infrastructure, do you go with prioritising Australian jobs, or do you go with LNP and their proxies, One Nation?” he said.
"I see that as the choice.
"The issues in Bundaberg are a template, I think, of what happens across the nation.
"You need good infrastructure funding here.
"I think it is absurd you've got some of the best fruit and veggie in the world, and they've got to fly south to Brisbane to fly north to Asia.
"I think we can do more to help infrastructure here.”