CANBERRA MATTERS | Local newspapers play a valuable role during these strange times

CONNECTING: Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson held a 'virtual town hall' via Zoom last week, with two more online forums planned for later this month.

CONNECTING: Member for Paterson Meryl Swanson held a 'virtual town hall' via Zoom last week, with two more online forums planned for later this month.

It is truly remarkable, at a time when regional media is under threat that the Advertiser is back in print.

Our paper tells our stories, let's us know what is happening nearby and keeps us informed about our community.

In these strange times where protecting our community by staying home can make us feel disconnected from it, our local papers can help us overcome this.

It is also important to find new ways to connect. For my part, I've hosted the first virtual town hall for the Paterson electorate.

Last Wednesday constituents joined me online via Zoom for a conversation with shadow ministers on kickstarting our local economy. Thank you to those who participated.

I will be hosting two more virtual events in July: The first is an informative session for seniors to learn what support is available to them on Tuesday, July 21 at 11am.

The second is a forum to discuss how we can secure a future for our young people. It will be at Thursday, July 23 at 6pm.

It has become very clear that young people are being disproportionately affected by the COVID crisis. 45% of all the jobs lost in May were held by young people.

New research is predicting that young people entering the workforce during a recession will also earn less.

On top of that, cuts to TAFE have meant fewer apprentices and trainees today than when the LNP came to Government.

Meanwhile, young people will now find it harder to go to university and more expensive to do that with the Government's redesign of university funding.

Making some courses more expensive and others cheaper pits student against student, which isn't fair or helpful.

What young people need is good career counselling so they can understand what jobs are out there today and in the future.

In the short-term they also need access to support so they can pay their rent and buy food.

It is concerning that the Government still seems committed to cutting JobKeeper and halving Jobseeker in September.

Whilst the COVID crisis is all-consuming right now, the challenge of getting a job and mapping out a career is a real concern for young people.

As we enter the first recession in 29 years, we need to consider how we can ensure a prosperous future for our young people.

It starts with a focus on job creation. Good jobs that will steer us out of recession.

We need jobs that create things for Australians and create wealth through trade.

A tried and true way of creating jobs during a recession is for the Government to fund infrastructure projects.

This could include funding road upgrades like the M1 extension from Black Hill to Raymond Terrace. On a smaller scale the Government could fund the creation of the Richmond Vale Rail Trail, which would also support local tourism operators.

There is no shortage of great projects out there and I'm going to keep working hard to get some started in our community.

Meryl Swanson is the Federal Member for Paterson. Her office can be contacted on (02) 4983 2401 or via