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Labor leader Anthony Albanese with Federal Member for Dobell, Emma McBride MP andLabor candidatefor Robertson, Dr. Gordon Reid at Hakea Grove Aged Care. Labor leader Anthony Albanese with Federal Member for Dobell, Emma McBride MP andLabor candidatefor Robertson, Dr. Gordon Reid at Hakea Grove Aged Care. Featured
09 May 2022 Posted by 


Building a better future for the Coast
THERE are hundreds of small and family business owners who are proud to call the Central Coast home.
They play an important role in our community, supporting local jobs and boosting our economy, and they’ve faced many challenges over the last few years. 
They need a long-term plan, to support them now and into the future. Unfortunately, this year’s budget misses the mark for people and businesses on the Coast.
After almost a decade in power and on the eve of an election, this budget is only focused on short-term fixes. 
What Coasties really need is long-term support, not a one-off patch job that does nothing to make up for the last three years.
Under the Morrison government, Australia is now $1 trillion in debt and what have we got to show for it?
They’ve had years to act and now, right before an election, they finally decide to invest in our community. While this investment is welcome, it is long overdue.
The government has also made promises like this before and failed to deliver.
The Central Coast should be a priority when it comes to infrastructure and economic opportunities, not an afterthought right before a federal election.
2022-23 Budget
Our community has been calling on the government to fix the road through Wyong for years. 
It’s a bottleneck that can take over half an hour to clear on a busy day, and even longer when there’s an incident on the M1. 
Upgrading the Pacific Highway would help ease congestion, improve safety, boost the local economy, and create more jobs.
This government has had close to a decade to act and now, on the eve of an election, they finally bow to community pressure and agree to fix the road.
While this announcement is welcome, why has it taken this long? My community and I have been working tirelessly to secure funding for this project. 
We launched a petition calling on the government to act, we’ve held protests by the side of the road, and we have campaigned on this relentlessly. 
Since the announcement, it’s also become clear the government isn’t planning to spend any of the promised funds until 2025-26 – three years from now.
If the government was serious about this project, they would be treating it as a priority. 
As part of this year’s budget, the government also announced financial support for apprentices to help ease the cost of living, while providing subsidies for employers.
While this is welcome, it doesn’t make up for the $3 billion in cuts this government has made to TAFE over the last decade. 
These cuts have led to a 10 per cent drop in apprentices on the north end of the Coast over the past eight years and now the government expects us to believe they want to help Coasties take up an apprenticeship?
They should have been working to get local people into steady, secure work since the beginning of their term. 
Instead, they’ve waited until the last minute to make Central Coast tradies a priority.
Perhaps the biggest announcement out of this year’s budget was the government’s plan to halve the fuel excise for six months in a bid to provide some relief at the pump.
While I welcome any measure to help ease the cost of living, this does not address the long-term issues that people are facing on the Central Coast.
It does not make up for years of stagnant wages or years of inaction on cost-of-living pressures. 
Once again, the budget is only focused on short-term fixes.  This isn’t good enough.
Coasties deserve a proper plan to support businesses and their employees now and into the future. 
A plan to tackle the rising cost of living, and a plan to create a better future.
Labor’s Budget In-Reply
Unlike the Morrison government, Labor has a plan for a better future on the Central Coast. 
We have listened to the needs of local businesses, and we have taken their feedback on board.
Earlier this year, I invited Labor’s Shadow Treasurer, Jim Chalmers to the Coast to hear directly from small businesses.
I also held a Roundtable with industry groups last year, where I was joined by Shadow Minister for Employment, Skills and Small Business Richard Marles.
On both occasions, local business owners told us there is a mismatch between jobs availability and skills.
That’s why Labor will provide 465,000 free TAFE places under our TAFE policy.
This will help people upskill so they can find more secure work, and it will help businesses attract employees with the skills they need to fill job vacancies.
Labor also has a plan to improve our way of life on the Central Coast.
In his budget reply speech, Labor leader Anthony Albanese announced our plan to put the care back into healthcare.
We will provide cheaper childcare for when you’re young, strengthen Medicare for when you’re sick, and improve aged care for when you’re old.
We also have a plan to drive down power bills and create more jobs by investing in renewable energy.
Our Powering Australia plan will create 604,000 new jobs by 2030 and it will create 10,000 new energy apprenticeships in regions like the Coast.
This is a plan that puts businesses at the forefront. Labor will also revitalise Australian manufacturing so we can start making things again.
Things like buses, trains, ferries, and solar panels. Essential infrastructure for our future. This is a plan to make regions like the Central Coast a priority. 
This is a plan that supports local businesses, workers, and families on the Coast. This is a plan to create a better future for all Australians. Because it’s what we deserve.
Emma McBride is Federal member for Dobell. Visit: www.emmamcbride.com.au


Michael Walls
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Central Coast Business Access (CCBA) covers the business and community issues of the NSW Central Coast region. CCBA is a prime media source for connecting with the pulse of the region and tapping into it's vast opportunities.