The truth is that cutting wages is the last thing we need when we face the related issues of rising inequality, flat productivity, and faltering growth. We do not need to reduce demand in the economy by cutting the spending capacity of those who have least, and who spend what they earn.
Last year demand in the WA economy shrank nearly eight per cent. We have the highest unemployment in the country. Underemployment is at the highest level ever recorded. Employment participation is at the lowest level ever recorded. We desperately need any investment in productive infrastructure, and from the Western Australian Liberals and from the coalition-Liberal combo we have had nothing—absolutely zero.
In Western Australia we copped the double whammy. We have had cuts to financial advice services from the Barnett government and we now have the Turnbull government intent on cutting a full third of existing funding to CLCs, even though this will do harm to both individuals and the budget bottom line. It is bad government, plain and simple.
For the sake of jobs, for the sake of freight reliability and for the sake of regional security and our humanitarian disaster response capacity, we must act to strengthen and protect Australian shipping, Australian shipbuilding and the jobs and livelihoods of Australian seafarers. We must keep Fremantle port in public ownership. We must overcome the madness of the Perth Freight Link. Only Labor has those policies. Only Labor makes that commitment.