Tony Abbott’s latest attempt to shore up his leadership will not undo the damage that has been done to Geelong as a result of his cuts to industry, education and research.
Today’s report that Tony Abbott will place a Growth Centre at Deakin University is a token gesture in comparison to the $154 million in cuts he has inflicted on the same university.
Geelong has been sinking under the loss of manufacturing jobs, a condition heightened by the Abbott Government’s relentless attacks on the automotive industry.
Geelong does not need another media stunt from Tony Abbott, who for the second time in two days is attempting to save his own job.
What Geelong is calling for is a credible new jobs plan that can help the region attract new investment and employment following the closure of Alcoa and as Ford ceases car manufacturing in Geelong next year.
Today’s announcement doesn’t go nearly far enough to help deal with the devastating job losses as major sources of employment leave the region.
Earlier this year in a short-sighted and penny-pinching move, Tony Abbott turned down an offer from the Victorian Government to extend and boost funding for the Geelong Region Innovation Investment Fund, set up by Labor to create new jobs in the region to counter automotive job losses.
The fund was designed to support investments that lead to sustainable new jobs in Geelong and Melbourne’s North to assist Ford workers and their supply chains.
Along with the 100,000 job losses Victoria is facing a loss of $13 billion in Gross Regional Product (GRP) by the end of 2017 which will be hardest felt in regional cities like Geelong.
Tony Abbott cannot shy away from his responsibility to the Australian people to actually attract investment that will result in new jobs being created in the Geelong region.
Deakin University, which will host the lead centre in Geelong, has had $150 million cut from its teaching program and over $4 million cut from research.
Tony Abbott’s first Budget cut $3 billion from Australian science, research and innovation, undermining investment in the jobs of the future.
His second Budget slashed even further into Australia’s national innovation system, leading to a brain drain of talented scientists and innovators.
And his government remains committed to locking kids from low-income backgrounds out of university through deregulation and $100,000 degrees.
Labor will fight to keep high-skilled, high-wage jobs in Australia and will continue to hold Tony Abbott and his government to account for its callous approach to the future of manufacturing and innovation in this country.