Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd has agreed to a debate on local issues with Labor candidate Zac Beers.
Flynn MP Ken O'Dowd has agreed to a debate on local issues with Labor candidate Zac Beers. Liana Walker

O'Dowd, Beers to go head to head on local issues

MEMBER for Flynn Ken O'Dowd has agreed to debate his Labor nemesis Zac Beers on workforce casualisation among other regional issues.

Flynn candidate Mr Beers wrote to Mr O'Dowd earlier this month to challenge him to a public debate to discuss what the Federal Government plans to do to address the increase of casual work.

It's not the first time Mr Beers has approached Mr O'Dowd for a debate with the same offer being made in December.

At the time Mr O'Dowd said there would be plenty of time for debate once the election was called.

Responding to the latest request for debate, Mr O'Dowd said he was keen to discuss many of the region's issues, including job security, taxes, good economic management, cost of living and sustainability for the agricultural and coal industries.

"I will happily discuss all these topics with Mr Beers at a mutually suitable time and location," Mr O'Dowd said.

Mr O'Dowd said it was important to remember it suited some workers to be employed on a casual basis.

In his letter Mr Beers said the debate would provide each the opportunity to outline what they would do to address the problem and answer residents' questions.

CQUniversity professor of human resources and employment Julian Teicher said the issue in all regional cities was jobs becoming less secure, particularly in the resources sector.

"Because of sharemarkets employers will focus on delivering a short-term return so it's nice to say 'we've lowered our head count this year'," Prof Teicher said.

"There's obviously a role for flexible deployed labour but organisations need to think about what value there is to be gained in investing in skill and retaining that skill over time.

"Organisations need to think very carefully about if they should minimise short-term costs or invest in the workforce."

However, a significant portion of jobs advertised in the Gladstone Region are full-time positions.

A recent search on seek.com.au found of the 347 jobs advertised for the Gladstone Region 206 are full-time, 28 are part time, 80 are contract or temp work and 33 are casual.



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