No warning on welfare reform
MAYOR Brad Carter simply wants to know why he wasn't told that the city he leads would be fingered for some of the biggest welfare reforms to come out of Federal Parliament in years.
Cr Carter said no one told him Rockhampton had been identified as among the top 10 centres with the worst case of “entrenched disadvantage” in the nation.
He said the Federal Government did not contact him before announcing the changes, even to say confidentially that there would be any changes.
“To be honest, I would like the courtesy of a phone call that our community was about to be used as a pilot for a welfare project – it is disappointing,” Cr Carter said.
“I don't think we have a bigger welfare problem than any other place in Australia.”
However, Member for Capricornia Kirsten Livermore begged to differ.
She said: “Obviously, Mr Carter clearly doesn't understand the Federal Budget process – anything that may or may not be in the budget is not in it until Treasurer Wayne Swan stands up in parliament and says it is.”
According to Centrelink, the Rockhampton region has an unemployment rate of 6.9%, compared to the national average of 4.9%.
It is understood Rockhampton was selected as one of the most disadvantaged areas in the nation due to “unemployment, youth unemployment, low skills levels, the number of people on welfare payments and the length of time recipients have been receiving income support payments”.