Labor's Capricornia candidate Russell Robertson with Minister for Training Shannon Fentiman and Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke.
Labor's Capricornia candidate Russell Robertson with Minister for Training Shannon Fentiman and Rockhampton MP Barry O'Rourke. Allan Reinikka ROK220218ahasting

Firm has 100 skilled worker vacancies in CQ, Minister says

ROCKHAMPTON is "looking down the barrel" of a major skills shortage, according to Employment Minister Shannon Fentiman.

One day after she visited one of the region's largest employers, Hastings Deering, Ms Fentiman hit back at Queensland LNP leader Deb Frecklington's claims the Fitzroy region's unemployment was on the rise.

She said Hastings Deering had told her they had 100 vacancies for skilled workers, with most of those being diesel fitters. She said the real issue in CQ was clear.

"We need more training, not less," Ms Fentiman said.

"While the Palaszczuk Government is getting on with the job of bridging skills gaps and providing real pathways to jobs, Deb Frecklington is refusing to stand with Queensland against Malcolm Turnbull and the LNP's $40 million cuts to Queensland's training budget."

Ms Frecklington launched a scathing attack on Labor on Thursday with claims 8300 jobs had "disappeared" from the region between January 2017-18, as revealed in the latest Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) labour force figures.

The numbers showed unemployment had reached 6.7% this year, up from 6.2% a year ago.

According to the LNP, young people appeared even more vulnerable with 12.3% unemployed. This was down from 12.5% the previous month.

Ms Frecklington said the number of youths in work across the region had plummeted by almost 2000 on Labor's watch.

"This lazy Labor government can't keep ignoring the unemployment crisis across regional Queensland," Ms Frecklington said.

"Labor need to do more to create jobs, improve business investment and stop introducing job destroying taxes." 

But Ms Fentiman said LNP's refusal to stand against budget cuts was putting up to 4000 training places at risk state-wide, including more than 400 trainees and apprentices in Central Queensland.

Member for Rockhampton Barry O'Rourke said through Labor's programs such as Back to Work, Queensland was "leading the nation with its job growth" and giving local businesses "confidence" to employ more people.

Member for Keppel Brittany Lauga agreed, saying the $11.5m investment had seen 1552 Central Queenslanders gain employment.

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