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Royal Visit not enough to fix Weatherill’s mess

There’s no doubt the highly anticipated visit of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge to Adelaide’s northern suburb of Elizabeth was a wonderful highlight for the State. The royal couple graced us with their humility and enthusiasm to learn more about the inspiring youth who come from an area that has seen its fair share of challenges. 

William and Catherine’s presence in Elizabeth went a long way in lifting the hopes of thousands of locals who have been let down by 12 years of Premier Weatherill and Labor. In fact, the Premier, who had wooed the Royals to Adelaide in the first instance, wasn’t even there to greet them when they arrived. He was on the other side of the world, holidaying with his family in Europe. This is indicative of the appalling attitude he has held towards Adelaide’s northern suburbs. He has simply been turning his back on the people of Elizabeth and the wider northern suburbs community for far too long. While the Royals were able to provide some temporary respite from the dire situation facing many, it’s the Premier and his Labor colleagues who are responsible for finding solutions to the raft of issues facing these areas.

The latest data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows Adelaide’s northern suburbs lost 6,100 jobs in the 12 months to March 2014. The Labor Government’s failed economic policies are creating a social and economic crisis in the northern suburbs where 17,300 people are now out of work. With the looming closure of Holden’s manufacturing plant in Elizabeth, hundreds of more job losses are on the horizon.

Youth unemployment statistics are even more dire. In December last year, 45% of people aged 15-19 years were without work in the northern suburbs. They face immense challenges in finding a job, that in turn would give them financial stability and security. There are so many families being affected by unemployment and so many others that will find themselves in a similar situation once Holden closes.

For the sake of thousands of people who need a job right now, the Weatherill Labor Government must reduce taxes that are imposed on businesses in South Australia. Reducing payroll tax and land tax will give many businesses the incentives they need to employ more staff.

The Government must also present a comprehensive plan that will map out an economic future for Elizabeth once car manufacturing ceases in 2017. The suburb, named after Queen Elizabeth II, was originally built as a satellite city for British immigrants. It was a thriving metropolis where dreams were realised. More than fifty years on, Elizabeth has been let down by a tired and weary Weatherill Labor Government.

Last week’s visit by the Duke and Duchess gave locals a timely reminded that they are just as important as anyone else in Australia. Especially our young South Australians. Premier Weatherill needs to focus on initiatives that encourage the uptake of apprentices and ensure there are long-term employment opportunities for them on completion of their trade. More needs to be done to support youth in areas of mental health and social services. Families need to be assured that there is a future for the communities they live in so that next time our northern suburbs are in the international spot-light, the positives outweigh the negatives.