PL “against project for hotel & yacht marina at Hondoq”
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The Labour Leader Dr Joseph Muscat held a press conference this morning at the Xaghra Belvedere.
Dr Muscat was questioned on the Party’s plans for the enviornment, particularly the proposals for Hondoq. He stated that the “Labour Party was opposed to the yacht marina and hotel project at Hondoq.” He also said that a Labour Government had no plans on a project at Ta’ Cenc which included bungalows.
“A new government will be introducing a Special Framework for Investment in Gozo, in conformity with EU regulations, which will include specific incentives with the objective of attracting more investment to Gozo in order to generate more productive and higher-quality jobs in the island,” the Labour Leader said.
Joseph Muscat also stated that “a new Government will ensure that Gozo keeps on benefitting from EU funding at the same rates, and possibly even at higher rates than the last years.”
He emphasised that “a new Government will be aiming at having more Gozitan employees who are currently working for the Public Service in Malta, to be given productive employment within the same Public Service in Gozo, if they so wish. This can be achieved if, for example, with more back office operations are transferred to Gozo.”
Joseph Muscat also spoke about assistance to businesses in Gozo saying that a “new Government will be giving a start-up tax credit of €50,000 or 25% of the amount invested and the employees’ salaries during the first two years of operation of a new business in Gozo. This tax credit can be utilised over a period of four years.”
“In conformity with EU regulations, a new Government will assist Gozitan businesses who increase their workforce and hire new employees on an indefinite contract basis or for over three years, by refunding €5,000 over the salary of each additional person who is given employment,” declared Joseph Muscat
According to the PL Leader, “a new Government will strive to make the greatest effort ever to address the challenge of better accessibility to Gozo. Gozo has the potential to generate economic growth. We will continue to study the possibility of establishing a permanent link between Malta and Gozo.”
He continued by saying that PL “will examine the introduction of a fast sea-service between Gozo and Valletta, through the Public Service Obligation. Meaning that a much-needed service will be provided for about 3,000 Gozitan employees and students who work and study in Malta, most of them in the areas around the capital city. This service will reduce commuting time between Gozo and Valletta, the main beneficiaries of this service being those who travel more frequently.”
Joseph Muscat stated that a new Government “will also be exploring the possibility of an efficient, reliable and sustainable helicopter service.”
“In order to encourage businesses in Gozo, we will be introducing cheaper passages to Gozo on the Gozo Channel. Furthermore, schemes will be introduced which will give incentives on travel to those who spend a minimum period of time in Gozo,” the PL Leader said
Joseph Muscat affirmed, “We are aware of the state of neglect of the Gozo General Hospital, thus we will be embarking on a project to modernise drastically the hospital with the scope of making it truly suitable for Gozitans. In this context, we are also assuring the complete autonomy in the running of the hospital.”
“We will be investing in chemoterapy services for the cure of cancer, together with other professional services, so that Gozitan patients are given the necessary care in Gozo.
“We are also exploring the possibility of utilising the Gozo General Hospital as a base for an educational institution on the medicine sector,” claimed Dr Muscat.
The PL Leader also mentioned the development, in collaboration with the private sector, of a cruise liner terminal, as another strategy for job creation. As well as the importance of further promotion of handcrafts and skills and further investment in the Crafts Village at Ta’ Dbiegi.
“Meetings of the authority on development and the one on environment dealing with Gozitan issues, will take place in Gozo. Moreover, a Judge will be appointed to hear Appeals in Gozo,” stated Joseph Muscat.
The PL Leader also spoke about childcare services in Gozo as well as community homes for the elderly.
He declared that there should be an improvement in sports facilities in Gozo, as well as a need for further incentives for Gozitan students. “The Gozitan students studying in Malta, will benefit from incentives on rent for their accommodation.
“Furthermore, there should be an increase in the courses offered at the University of Gozo and where possible, the exams should take place in Gozo as well,” stated Muscat.
The Labour Leader concluded that the rights of the Gozitan people should also be safeguarded through representation at Dar Malta in Brussels.
Dr Muscat is visiting Debono Printing Press, at the Industrial Estate in Xewkija this afternoon and will this evening be in Qala for a public discussion which gets underway at 5.30pm.