The Greens gave strong backing to the “Give our kids a start” rally outside Barnaby Joyce’s Tamworth office today, to protest at the Deputy Prime Minister’s failure on the jobs front for local young people and his ongoing backing of the live export trade.
Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon and Greens New England candidate Mercurius Goldstein attended today’s rally.
Senator Rhiannon said, “Mr Joyce has done a massive disservice to New England and does not deserve to be re-elected.
“Hundreds of local jobs in meat processing have been lost in this region due to visa abuse and because Mr Joyce favours live exports over the local meat processing industry.
“Mr Joyce’s unhealthy obsession with promoting the live export trade is robbing New England of jobs.
“The National’s leader is favouring a small handful of employers. Meanwhile towns across New England are losing meat processing jobs due to the lack of restrictions on the numbers of livestock that can be exported.
“The abuse of visas by unscrupulous labour hire firms is also causing the loss of jobs that once provided a large pool of entry level positions into meat processing.
“Mr Joyce’s failure to protect job pathways in the local meat processing industry for young people demonstrates why he should not be re-elected.
“He has also failed to fund public TAFEs that play a critical role in training young people.
“Visa workers that the Turnbull-Joyce government are allowing to flood the meat processing industry are often at risk because of lack of training and inadequate industrial rights protection. I am hearing shocking reports of untrained workers suffering shocking injuries.
“The Greens stand with Animal Australia and other animal welfare groups and with the Australasian Meat Industry Employees Union in condemning the live export trade,” Senator Rhiannon said.
Mr Goldstein said, "Once again Barnaby Joyce has stood idly by as his Liberal partners in government diverted billions out of the public TAFE system, depriving young people in New England of an opportunity to get a start in their chosen careers.
"Mr Joyce has also dismissed hundreds of local jobs in processing, transportation, packaging and shipping that would flow from supporting the domestic livestock industry over live exports.
"Our communities have endured job losses at Inverell, Coonabarabran, Gunnedah, and a new venture at Armidale is going begging, all because Mr Joyce has failed to act on these opportunities.
"Mr Joyce's unwillingness to support the very industries and public TAFE system that drive jobs in this region make a mockery of his claims to represent people who are doing it tough in New England.