In the last few years, Gozo has progressed greatly, managing to register higher economic growth than Malta, even though the Maltese economic growth is double what it used to be. These are some of Labour’s proposals on Gozo, aimed at consolidating past achievements, and redirecting growth into new areas.
Gozo will be a key beneficiary of the €700 million project to create new environmental spaces.
On the first day of the campaign, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced that a large open space in Victoria will be among the first projects to start. This space will be among the largest green open urban spaces on our islands.
Gozo will be the first part of the Maltese islands to become carbon neutral. This will be the result of a large-scale renewable energy project that will not just cover the needs of Gozo but also those of the northern part of Malta.
Gozo will be the first part of the Maltese islands to become carbon neutral.
A new Labour administration has pledged to invest a record €162 million European funds. These will help Gozo spearhead the digital transformation and be a leader in the decarbonisation revolution.
Besides these EU funds, Government will be prioritising Gozo in local incentives. In fact, Dr Robert Abela has pledged that any incentive for businesses located in Gozo will be at least 10% more than those offered to businesses operating elsewhere.
Labour is also clear about improving the connectivity of Gozo. The Nationalist Party appears to have dropped their plans for an air link, while Labour has not. The PN do not mention the fast ferry – implying it may be terminated, while Labour has committed to strengthening the service. Labour is firmly in favour of a permanent link, while the PN says it agrees but there need to be more studies and a referendum.
What the PN is resolute on is on the expansion of the Mgarr harbour. This will have to house a fifth ferry and a military naval base. So, on the one hand, they propose an increase in ODZ land, but in practice their first proposal is to develop an infrastructure project on ODZ land. This to say nothing about the incredible inconvenience such a large-scale project will create for commuters, fishermen and yacht owners. Gozitans remember that the PN had said that in the early 1990s they wanted to build a new terminal in Cirkewwa. This was opened in 2013, or over a decade later.
Instead of fantasizing about the metaverse, the Labour manifesto is full of practical ways in which new investment will be attracted to Gozo. Every firm in the digital sector that starts an operation in Gozo will be given a tax credit of up to €50,000. Any fixed capital investment conducted in Gozo will be given a grant of 40% of the investment made. A new Labour administration will set up a new research centre in Gozo.
Finally, the manifesto includes several proposals to maintain the special nature of Gozo. It reaffirms the €30,000 grant that will be given to first-time buyers in vacant properties and those in UCAs and those with traditional Maltese features. Besides this there are other major projects to upgrade Gozo’s heritage. For instance, Labour is committed to manage to get the Cittadella recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site.
Labour’s vision for Gozo is dynamic, realistic, and forward-looking. It has the potential to continue to enhance the quality of life of Gozo’s residents while continuing to achieve a new economic prosperity.