'LNP taking Bundy for granted' says Shorten in town
UPDATE 5PM: PITT HITS BACK
HINKLER MP Keith Pitt says Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten is making some big assumptions about the region given his short time in the electorate.
"If he's basing his views on what the Member for Bundaberg has told him, then he's been misinformed,” Mr Pitt said.
"Maybe Mr Shorten should talk to some of the tax-paying, rate-paying residents in the region who are happy to support people in need, but don't want to see welfare payments being used for alcohol and drugs.
"I want to ensure people are using welfare for the essentials and kids are going to school after eating breakfast and with the equipment they need to learn.”
Mr Pitt said he had consulted with a broad cross-section of the community, including welfare organisations, chambers of commerce, businesses and individuals.
"I've had people stop me in the street and tell me what a good idea it is,” he said.
"There is overwhelming support for the Cashless Debit Card.”
A CASHLESS welfare card will not work in Bundaberg unless it has full community support, says Federal Opposition Leader Bill Shorten who accused the Coalition of taking the Bundaberg region for granted.
Mr Shorten made the comments when he visited Oakwood Sheet Metal in East Bundaberg today with Queensland Senator Anthony Chisholm.
"The last thing we want to see is Canberra imposing outcomes on local communities,” Mr Shorten said.
"There's no doubt that there is concern in the community about the prevalence of ice and other drugs of addiction.
"But let's also recognise that unless the community wants to do this cashless welfare card it won't work.”
Mr Shorten said he was keen to read a government report into areas where the cashless welfare card had been rolled out already.
While light on policy detail, Mr Shorten said he wanted to focus on creating jobs and apprenticeships for the region and used Oakwood Sheet Metal as an example.
"This is a manufacturing operation, which I think a lot of Australians don't realise still exists in Australia and regional Australia,” Mr Shorten said.
"What's really pleasing about this family business is it's employing apprentices, and it's encouraging others to either stay in Bundaberg or attract people from Brisbane to come and work in Bundaberg.”
Mr Shorten indicated the lack of support for apprenticeships, and the NBN rollout in Bundaberg, which he described as a "shemozzle”, showed a Federal Government out of touch with the Bundaberg region.
"What Bundaberg needs is a government in Canberra who shows the same sort of courage and inventiveness and determination as we see in Oakwood Sheet Metal,” Mr Shorten said.
"What this business needs and what Bundaberg needs is a government in Canberra who knows where this place is and doesn't take it for granted as the LNP has.”
Mr Shorten will be at a public forum at the Brothers Club tonight from 6pm.