MINISTERS STATEMENTS: EMPLOYMENT
Mr PALLAS (Werribee—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Industrial Relations) (11:39:53): I am pleased to advise the house about how Victorians are getting working under this government. In the latest labour force figures Victoria’s youth unemployment rate has decreased to its lowest level in over a decade, and I bemoan the fact that the member for Warrandyte is not here to hear this great news. It is almost 2 percentage points lower than 12 months ago and a full 4.3 percentage points lower than when the member for Malvern was the Treasurer. In concrete terms, this means that more than 66 000 young Victorians have found work under this government, including over 9000 young Victorians in our regions. For an 18-year-old Victorian today what that means is that there are opportunities to get jobs building the infrastructure of tomorrow or to be professionals in our booming services sector. Like the youth rate, the regional unemployment rate is at near record lows of just 3.7 per cent. The unemployment rate in the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland is down from 8 per cent, reached under those opposite, to now 4.4 per cent. There were over 10 000 jobs lost in the Latrobe Valley and Gippsland regions under those opposite. We have created over 4000 jobs since coming to government. What a difference five years of drive and determination makes. Back then regional Victoria suffered over 7000 net job losses and the regional employment rate increased to 6.6 per cent. Some would describe that as limp, weak and ineffectual—not my words, rather the description of a disinterested potential state Liberal Party non-candidate on the performance of those opposite. When I visit communities right across this great state the number one topic young people raise with me is jobs. That is why this government is getting on with providing opportunities through infrastructure and skill development.