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PL explains Gozo proposals

Hondoq ir-Rummien.

Hondoq ir-Rummien.

Labour leader Joseph Muscat this afternoon explained the PL proposals for Gozo, first announced this morning.

He said the PL's proposals for Gozo would see capital expenditure on the island increase by €7.5 million over and above current levels.

Tourism

A small cruise liner terminal, likely in Mgarr, would complement Malta's existing terminal and turn Malta into a "double destination" for cruise liner passengers, Dr Muscat said.

"This could be the biggest investment for Gozo since the creation of Gozo Channel," Dr Muscat told his audience at San Lawrenz Hotel..

Dr Muscat also said the PL would reinvigorate the Ta' Dbiegi handicrafts village and make a concerted effort towards developing agri-business and agri-tourism further.

The building of a breakwater at Marsalforn would be included in the PL's electoral programme..

Dr Muscat said a golf course was not on the cards and Labour was also opposing the Hondoq project as proposed, notably the marina proposal.

Fiscal

He said Gozo-specific fiscal incentives would include a €50,000 tax credit for business start-ups, valid for four years, and a €5,000 grant for each new worker companies employed on contracts of at least three years' duration.

The PL would allocate €1 million to the latter proposal, which Dr Muscat said would create at least 200 new jobs.

Structural and bureaucratic

A specific Gozo office would be established within Dar Malta in Brussels and tasked with looking out for Malta's sister island.

The PL would also create a special investment framework for Gozo which would allow it to tap EU funds over and above current levels and offer more Gozo-specific investment opportunities.

Dr Muscat said that the PL would ask the European Commission to assess economic divergences between Malta and Gozo, by way of pushing for additional EU funds for the island.

Transport

The Labour leader said the PL wanted to set up a fast-ferry link between Gozo and the Valletta area.

Studies assessing the feasibility of a permanent link between Malta and Gozo would continue, while the PL would also see whether it was feasible to revive a helicopter service between the two islands.

Cheaper ferry rates would apply on specific occasions as well as for people visiting Gozo for a minimum number of days.

Social and Health

Dr Muscat said the Gozo general hospital was "underutilised and under-serviced" and the PL would modernise it. Making chemotherapy available in Gozo would be a "priority".

The PL would open a home for the elderly in Gozo and expand childcare services in line with its universal childcare policy. Sports facilities would be improved, Dr Muscat said, suggesting an abandoned site in Qala as the possible site of a sports complex.

A  judge would be appointed to handle Gozitan court cases, while planning applications concerning Gozitan land would be bundled together and heard in specific MEPA hearings directly in Gozo.

Education

More university courses would be given in Gozo, and where possible Gozitan students would be offered the option of sitting for exams on their home island.

Dr Muscat said there was potential for Gozo to attract foreign educational institutions to its shores, and made specific reference to the possibility of Gozo general hospital hosting medical school services.

Gozitan university students would receive help when they rented property in Malta throughout their studies.

In the morning, Dr Muscat also said importance would also be given to having government workers from Gozo working in Gozo instead of Malta.

 

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