Mr PALLAS (Werribee—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Industrial Relations) (16:18): I rise to update the house and to outline the support that this government is providing to bushfire-affected communities. Amid the horror of the past couple of months, resilient communities have banded together, and this government, led by the Premier and ably assisted by the Minister for Police and Emergency Services, has been there to help. We are taking action to kickstart the economy and to make sure that the recovery in these areas is directly relevant to the needs of those communities—direct assistance as well as a range of initiatives to encourage people to visit these communities. Can I assure all Victorians that this government is committed to supporting these local economies and also helping communities to recover.

We are fast-tracking regional payroll tax relief for eligible businesses—down to 25 per cent of the metropolitan rate immediately. We are providing a much-needed cash injection and helping businesses hire locals. We are fast-tracking our stamp duty concessions for commercial and industrial properties, aiming to ensure that these fire-affected areas of regional Victoria are attractive places for people to relocate. We are also making sure in the strongest possible terms that the message to these communities is that ‘We are with you’ and that ‘You are, so far as the business world is concerned, open for business’.

And we are working with the commonwealth to provide grants and concessional loans to small business and the people on the ground to help them to access those loans. We are also supporting those that are directly impacted by the fires. We are fast-tracking immediate relief for land tax as well as for motor vehicle duty and registration fees for those whose cars were destroyed. We are waiving water rates for homes or businesses destroyed or significantly damaged by fire and providing rebates for others that have suffered supply interruptions.