Every day, 44,000 locals travel from the Coast to their place of work. For many of these commuters, a 4-hour round-trip is not uncommon.
Over a five day working week, that adds up to 20 hours. That’s 20 hours unpaid. 20 hours away from our families. Over the course of one year, this means too many of us spend the equivalent of 38 days in the car or a crowded train carriage getting to and from work.
This time on the road, or on the rails, is taxing on all of us.
Former commuter, Scott Goodacre, commuted from the Central Coast to Sydney Monday-Friday for 10 years. Scott says the commute was exhausting, and recalls seeing the same exhaustion on the faces of fellow commuters on the train each morning.
After a decade, Scott decided to make a change and go back to university. “I wanted to retrain myself in a different field, with the hope of opening up more employment opportunities for myself in the local area” says Scott. He chose to study at the University of Newcastle, and expected to attend classes at the Ourimbah campus; however most of his classes took place at the university’s Callaghan campus.
Scott is a big advocate for increased funding to education on the Coast. Like many of us, he knows the entire region would benefit from an investment in local schools, as well as TAFE and university options for students. Labor knows this too. We’re dedicated to restoring education funding, and we have committed an additional $174 million to support pathways to post-secondary education.
“The Central Coast is a beautiful area,” beams Scott, “I don’t want to have to move away, but I also can’t bear to face the continued commute to Sydney or Newcastle each day”.
This dilemma is a reality for many Coasties. And, unfortunately, it’s driving them away from the Central Coast. In pursuit of full-time employment in their field, some Coast residents are seeking employment interstate and overseas – choosing relocation over the commute.
It’s clear we need to do more to keep Central Coast residents living, learning, and working on the Coast.
Scott believes that “We need to start offering incentives to bigger businesses to open satellite offices on the Central Coast”. And this is exactly what Labor is thinking, too. Only a Shorten Labor Government will establish a $1 billion Advanced Manufacturing Future Fund to provide concessional loans to manufacturers seeking to innovate, expand, or diversify.
These loans will enable business to establish local regional offices on the Central Coast, or allow existing business to expand through new technology. On the Central Coast, we’re famed for our food production. We’re home to East Coast Juice, as well as international brands Sanitarium and MasterFoods Australia.
Labor’s Advanced Manufacturing Future Fund will support and foster growth in these businesses and many more; boosting our local economy, and enabling more residents of the Central Coast to work locally.
We’re committed to improving the lives of hard-working Australians, and creating a better future that we can all enjoy. Only a Shorten Labor Government has the plans in place to help the Central Coast flourish. Together, we can thrive.