Jobs for Ipswich tops ALP election promises
LABOR hopes to return four state members to Ipswich after the party's annihilation statewide at the 2012 poll, but candidates are quick to point out they are in for a battle.
The party's candidate for Ipswich Jennifer Howard would not say she was confident of winning the seat despite encouraging opinion polls.
"It is by no means a forgone conclusion," Ms Howard said.
"People say that Ipswich is Labor but we had Sir Llew Edwards as a local member for many years and the demographic is changing.
"Anybody who thinks that Ipswich is Labor heartland isn't really familiar with the demographic that we see now."
Ms Howard and Labor candidate for Ipswich West Jim Madden are challenging first-term members Ian Berry and Sean Choat.
The LNP endorsed accountant Adam Hannant to run against Opposition Leader Annastacia Palaszczuk in Inala but does not have a candidate to run against the region's other Labor survivor Jo-Ann Miller in Bundamba.
Labor's first caucus meeting after the resounding defeat in 2012 was held at the Ipswich Art Gallery boardroom when Ms Palaszczuk apologised for breaching the public's trust in the Labor government's asset sales.
While asset sales continues to be a key issue, the clear focus for both candidates however is addressing unemployment levels.
Ms Howard said Labor's plans to establish Jobs Queensland, reinstate the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program and payroll rebates for bosses who employ apprentices were vital for Ipswich.
"The LNP promised 4% unemployment but today unemployment in Ipswich sits at around 9%," she said.
"Youth unemployment in Ipswich is now 19.2%, up a shocking 60% since Campbell Newman became Premier.
"I'm committed to lowering this by fighting for more local jobs and reversing the LNP's savage cuts that have hurt our community.
"The LNP promised public servants had 'nothing to fear' but have sacked nurses at the Ipswich hospital."
Mr Madden said the employment issue was directly related to infrastructure and the Newman Government did little more for the region than to finish off projects designed and arranged by the Bligh government.
"Infrastructure leads to increased commerce and without investment in infrastructure commerce suffers," he said.
"In Ipswich West at the moment one in 10 adults are unemployed, one in five youth are unemployed. It is terrible statistics.
"It is a critical issue and when Jen and I talk about jobs we're talking about jobs in the state but it is a particular problem in the Ipswich area. The levels are much higher than other areas."