MINISTERS STATEMENTS: ECONOMY
Mr PALLAS (Werribee—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Industrial Relations) (14:30:00): I rise to update the house on how Victoria’s economy is leading the nation. The CommSec State of the States report, released late last month, found that Victoria is the standalone state leading the nation. We were first on jobs, first on economic growth, first on retail trade and first on construction work. We have been first overall for five consecutive quarters. Driven by the Andrews Labor government’s unprecedented infrastructure build, the latest data has shown that Victoria’s economic growth in the March quarter was up by 26.6 per cent over the decade-long average. But Victoria has not always been this successful. We all remember that in the 20 months that the member for Malvern was the Treasurer, economic growth in this state had almost stalled. We had high unemployment, we had low economic growth and we were the fifth-ranked state in the nation. Today of course Victoria is ranked first, a ranking only ever attained by the Andrews Labor government. In July 2014 youth unemployment in Victoria had just hit a 15-year high. Regional unemployment of course had peaked at 6.6 per cent, and today we know it is now a record low of 3.8 per cent. Victoria wasted four long, lost years under the coalition government, and the member for Malvern delivered the only budget deficit the state has seen in 20 years. Mr M O’Brien: On a point of order, Speaker, I am happy for the Treasurer to spin; I am just not happy for him to lie. That is it. The SPEAKER: Order! The Treasurer shall not use a ministers statement as an opportunity to attack the opposition. Mr PALLAS: This government has created more than six times the number of jobs created by those opposite. We have almost tripled the state’s infrastructure spend. The Andrews government has made the Victorian economy the strongest in the nation, and we did that by never looking back and by getting on with things.