MINISTERS STATEMENTS: ECONOMY
Mr PALLAS (Werribee—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Industrial Relations) (11:38:59): It really does give me great pleasure to talk about the state of doing business in Victoria. Victoria is an easy place to do business. These are not my words; these are the words of the managing director, Julia Kern, of Kaufland Australia. But they could just as well have been the words of many other businesses—countless businesses—doing business in this great state at the moment. Victoria, I am pleased to say, is open for business. Kaufland recently indicated that Victoria would be its base. They are making an investment of $435 million and they intend employing at least 1500 staff. Kaufland could have chosen other places to catapult their expansion into Australia, but they chose Victoria. It has not always been this way. Let us look back five years ago. September 2014 was a very bleak month for many Victorians. Under the member for Malvern’s watch Victoria’s unemployment rate was 6.7 per cent. Economic growth was anaemic. Business investment was flatlining. Mr T Smith: On a point of order, Speaker, again, question time is not an opportunity for the government to attack the opposition. No-one wants to hear about September 2014. We want to hear about updates now. Could you draw the Treasurer back to the forms of the house, please, Speaker? The SPEAKER: Order! Brief references to former governments’ performances, according to previous rulings, are allowed. But the Treasurer is reminded that those references are to be brief and he needs to come back to government business. Mr PALLAS: Well, it was a bleak month. It was the month that Tom Jones hit the wrong notes at the AFL Grand Final. Five years on, how things have changed. Unemployment is down to 4.8 per cent, growth has been above trend for four years and counting, we have created 477 000 new jobs, business investment is up by over 26 per cent and Paul Kelly is performing at this month’s grand final. Victoria now has a government that knows how to make gravy. We are attracting international companies like Praxis Precision, Alibaba, David Jones and Zendesk. That all means more jobs for Victorians. Victoria is an easy place to do business. This government’s superior economic record has put Victoria leaps and bounds ahead of the rest of the nation. From little things big things grow, and this state continues to grow. Mr Northe: On a point of order, Speaker, in relation to a constituency question that is well overdue, this was asked on 5 June 2019. Question 734 related to asking the Minister for Regional Development in the other place about the future of Hazelwood Pondage. It is more than three months since I asked the question. Petitions have been tabled in Parliament—more than 3000 signatures. I think it is incumbent on the minister to finally answer the question, given the interest in my community. If you could follow up on that matter again, I would be most grateful. The SPEAKER: Thank you. I will follow that matter up for the member for Morwell.