MINISTERS STATEMENT: REGIONAL ECONOMY
MR PALLAS (Werribee—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Industrial Relations) (14:23):
You may have heard from me recently that when I began as Treasurer the regional unemployment rate left to us by those opposite was 6.6 per cent, and the latest figure is now 3.3 per cent. That is half of what it was in November 2014 in percentage terms, when those opposite lost the government benches. Of course, given the global pandemic of this and last year, it is quite an incredible figure. Since November 2014 over 84 000 jobs have been created in regional Victoria.
This government’s ambitious jobs and infrastructure agenda tells half of that story. There are of course our new low payroll tax settings for the regions at just 1.21 per cent, not even half but a quarter of the metropolitan rate, the lowest rate in the nation, with daylight second—because we are not a government that does things by halves. We have gone on to build confidence, create innovation and kickstart projects like the Regional Rail Revival and countless projects made possible by our Regional Jobs and Infrastructure Fund. In fact our government has invested over $30 billion in regional Victoria, more than four times what those opposite invested in their last time in government.
The government’s halving of the regional unemployment rate of November 2014 is the largest decrease in the nation in this time. Our jobs creation is the highest of all states in percentage terms, and I am sure even the member for Ripon would agree that that is not half bad. And we got here because, unlike those opposite, we spend our time focusing on the priorities of the Victorian people, recognising that the wellbeing of regional Victoria is intrinsic to the wellbeing of the whole state.