THE HON BILL SHORTEN MP
LEADER OF THE OPPOSITION
MEMBER FOR MARIBYRNONG
THE HON WARREN SNOWDON MP
SHADOW PARLIAMENTARY SECRETARY FOR NORTHERN AUSTRALIA
MEMBER FOR LINGIARI
LABOR CALLS ON PRIME MINISTER TO ACT URGENTLY
Leader of the Opposition Bill Shorten and the Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon call on the Prime Minister to urgently respond to the announcement by Rio Tinto last week that it will curtail its alumina refinery in Gove.
Prior to the election, Tony Abbott sought permission to spend his first week as Prime Minister in Arnhem Land -
Why shouldn't I, if you will permit me, spend my first week, as Prime Minister, should that happen, on your country.
TONY ABBOTT – SPEECH AT GARMA FESTIVAL – 10 AUGUST 2013
And yet, neither the Prime Minister nor a senior government minister has made contact with the community, let alone gone to Nhulunbuy to meet and listen to their concerns.
The Prime Minister has failed to understand that the announcement is set to devastate this entire community.
It has been over a week since Rio Tinto announced that around 1200 jobs would be lost at the Gove alumina refinery which is set to close in mid-2014.
The Leader of the Opposition sent the Shadow Minister for Northern Australia Gary Gray and Shadow Parliamentary Secretary for Northern Australia and Member for Lingiari Warren Snowdon to Arnhem Land early this week.
Mr Gray and Mr Snowdon met with community members, businesses, community organisations, workers and their families in Nhulunbuy and Yirrkala to discuss the impact this decision will have.
What is clear is that there is an urgent need for support to help the community readjust to life in Nhulunbuy without the refinery, through assistance to small businesses and community organisations.
There must be a considered regional adjustment package put in place as quickly as possible which addresses the need for new job and business opportunities.
The Abbott Government’s response has been nothing short of shocking and contemptuous of the workers who will lose their jobs, the small businesses and the vital service providers in Nhulunbuy and the region.
The failure to respond shows that there is a complete lack of understanding in the Abbott Government of the impact that will be felt by everyone in the community.
Despite all of the Prime Minister’s rhetoric, it is clear that this government knows nothing about regional and remote communities and they care even less.
This is not the government the Prime Minister promised he would lead.
FRIDAY, 13 DECEMBER 2013
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