Health, students, apprentices: our candidates have their say
WITH Gympie to hit the polls on November 25, The Gympie Times asked our candidates to answer 12 questions on the region's pressing issues.
We will be presenting their responses over the next five days.
The answers from Chelle Dobson (ONP), Tracey McWilliam (ALP), Tony Perrett (LNP) and Donna Reardon (IND) are presented below, ordered by their appearance on the ballot to ensure fairness.
No response was received from Greens' candidate Roxanne Kennedy-Perriman.
Q. Would you push for mandatory diabetes testing in emergency rooms?
A. CD: Mandatory, no, but offered as a screening test yes.
TM: I don't think it needs to be mandatory. I'm sure our medical professionals know whether to test people if suspected of having diabetes. I would leave this to the medical profession.
TP: The LNP is committed to tackling diabetes, will work with the community to achieve this, and will look at any strategy that works to reduce diabetes. When I opened the EXPOsing Diabetes - Type 2 event in October I noted that there are 3294 people living in Gympie with diabetes and about 2900 of those have Type 2. Tackling it requires not only identifying and managing the chronic condition but also getting patients to take respon-
sibility for their own health and health behaviours.
Q. 70 per cent of Gympie region apprentices drop out before they complete their apprenticeship - what would you do to address this issue?
A. CD: One Nation wants an apprenticeship scheme where the government subsidises wages 75 per cent of the first year, 50 per cent of the second and 25 per cent of the third. The move made by the previous Labor government and completed by the Newman LNP Government to restructure Trade Education is not working. Businesses have told me that they want their apprentices to attend Tafe, where they can network with other trade apprentices. One of the reasons so many Gympie apprentices drop out is because we do not have a local Tafe, which requires them to travel to the Sunshine Coast or Brisbane. I am on record saying that we need to reinstate a trade education centre here in Gympie, utilising the current vacant Tafe buildings.
TM: Under the Newman- Nicholls Government we saw 30,000 fewer people take up apprenticeships. We think this has to be fixed, which is why we're helping people get into training through our Skilling Queenslanders for Work program. We're also setting mandatory minimum percentages of apprentices on some government projects. I would work with the Minister for Training and Employment to seek strategies which could provide support to encourage completion of apprenticeships.
TP: Targeted support for small business and workers to secure jobs with specific plans such as the LNP's Tools for Tradies program which will provide a $500 voucher for apprentices to get the tools they need to get working, Queensland Apprenticeship Boost providing a $5000 incentive to take on apprentices, Job Start Incentive of $4000 grants for recruiting and start-up costs to employ 15-24-year-olds, and discounts on WorkCover premiums for small businesses after 12 months of continuous employment of an apprentice or the young unemployed.
DR: Increase the minimum wage on performance as an incentive for apprentices to complete their trade.
Q. What would you do to address the higher number of teenagers in Gympie region who leave school before graduating?
A. CD: Young adults need engaging; having purposeful activities for them to participate in is important. Employment prospects for our young adults needs to improve, along with different education styles. Not everyone wants or is suited to attending university which now seems to be the focus of the high school curriculum. Reintroduction of a Tafe level of education would offer alternatives to the high school system for those not academically inclined or suited.
TM: Labor has always been the party of education and we want to do all we can to keep young people studying. That means investing in education and delivering more teachers to support students. We want to foster connections between high schools and local businesses and industries, to encourage youth who aren't as academic to further their studies or move directly into the workplace.
TP: By supporting more pathways from school to employment. Support vocational and tertiary education opportunities, including Tafe, Registered Training Organisations and school-based traineeships, as well as on-the-job training and organisations such as the Flexible Learning Centre. Freeing up business to employ and continue to employ young workers.
DR: Offer industry- specific training programs.