MR PALLAS (Werribee—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Industrial Relations) (11:06):

Thanks very much, Speaker, and it is good to be back. The Victorian economy is roaring back, and it is demonstrating that it is back in its natural place of leadership of the nation’s economy, with the latest jobs figures and the latest retail trade data showing that the Victorian economy rebounded more strongly than any other state in the final quarter of 2020. Consumer and business confidence, of course, are above the national average, and job advertisements in January are up 2.3 per cent—the eighth consecutive monthly increase. It is a full 5.3 per cent bigger, larger than the pre-pandemic levels. Not only are businesses looking to hire, but people are also looking to invest in this great state. The Age this week reported that:

Victoria has led the way in the past two months with the value of loans in the state jumping by 43.6 per cent to a record $5.6 billion in December. In NSW, loans increased by 8.3 per cent over the same period …

So yes, we are roaring back, which I know will come as a disappointment for those who specialise in tales of woe—those who love to talk down the Victorian economy—but the facts do not bear it out. They were wrong; the figures prove it. More than half of the new jobs in Australia in the December quarter were created right here in Victoria. Deloitte Access Economics forecasts that Victoria will be the fastest growing economy in the nation this year, with growth at 5.4 per cent. Their report states that:

… Victoria’s recovery to date has been remarkable.

I hope that these figures are an eye-opener for those who said that Victoria was done for. The Victorian economy is resilient, and our economic fundamentals are strong.