7th Feb 2015 6:00 AM


See more: http://www.northernstar.com.au/news/for-print-can-go-online-saturdayxunions-are-blamin/2535840/

UNIONS are blaming the LNP for the disappearance of 30,000 jobs in the Richmond-Tweed region since 2011, saying 20,000 of the job losses have happened since Prime Minister Tony Abbott was elected to power.

"This is just another example of the problems local communities are facing across NSW," Unions NSW secretary Mark Lennon said.

"It is disappointing that the Baird Government, for all its talk, is delivering nothing for the people of regional NSW."

Tweed MP Geoff Provest acknowledged unemployment as a major problem for the region, but said the figures were deceptive.

"Actual unemployment in Richmond-Tweed has gone from 9000 down to 8600 in the past 12 months," he said.

"And at no time since 1998 has it ever gone higher than 16,000.

"Comparing job losses with unemployment is a bit like comparing apples and pears - it's also a little bit deceptive because they weren't seasonally adjusted."

Tweed Hospital nurse and union member Zoe Guinea said the figures would only worsen if the Baird Government continued "cutting the health system, cutting TAFE and winding back services to the community".

"Cuts and restructuring of the TAFE system has meant higher fees and less choice for students as well as more jobs lost among teaching and administrative staff," she said.

"And delays in recruitment at Tweed Hospital means services are stretched to breaking point with under-resourced staff unable to meet demand."

Mr Provest believed Kingscliff TAFE had received record enrolments last year and said an upturn in construction activity would soon have a positive effect on unemployment.

"We've got about 10,000-15,000 new home sites ready for approval," he said.

"At Kingscliff, houses are being built. At Seabreeze, houses are getting built.

"And we're always trying to take the burden off small business, because that's where 85% of the jobs come from."

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