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WA must move beyond mining to resilient economy: Greens

Greens highlight emergency relief for struggling families as more mines close

Western Australia must create a more resilient economy that can ride out mining busts and the current round of job cuts, according to the Australian Greens.

“The need for emergency relief is becoming evermore apparent as each day more Western Australians find themselves out of work through mining closures and cutbacks,” Australian Greens Employment and Workplace Relations Spokeswoman Rachel Siewert said.

“Unfortunately, mining booms are measured at boardroom tables, but mining busts are felt at kitchen tables.

“We have to build a green economy in Western Australia that is not dependent on the cycle of mining boom and bust.”

Senator Siewert highlighted $50 million in extra support the Greens had recently secured as part of the $42 billion Federal stimulus package for the unemployed, including:

• No interest loans to help people on low incomes build assets such as purchasing white goods, work equipment and items for children;
• Matched savings accounts which offer dollar-for-dollar, matching for money saved by low income earners; and
• Employment of people with financial counselling skills to help people accessing the above scheme on the long-term management of their budgets.

Senator Siewert said the Greens had also secured a softening of the ‘liquid assets test’ – which meant that unemployed people would not have to whittle away all their savings before they could apply for unemployment benefits. The assets test has now been raised to $5000.

“In addition, through negotiations we secured commitments from the Federal Government for a $300 million local job creation fund to provide one-off grants to projects run by church, charitable, community organisations and local councils that create jobs in local areas,” Senator Siewert said.

“This will include innovative social projects such as recycling and home maintenance programs; construction of local infrastructure (including cycle paths and heritage preservation); and not-for-profit labour hire programs. This funding will be for projects that are ready to be implemented and employ people immediately.

“All levels of Government need to begin rolling out local green jobs through infrastructure investment in sustainable new industries such as renewable energy, tourism, services, a sustainable construction industry and clean, green farming.”

For more information or media enquiries, call Eloise Dortch on 0415 507 763

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