MINISTERS STATEMENTS: EMPLOYMENT
Mr PALLAS (Werribee—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Industrial Relations) (11:29:45): I rise to update the house on the state of the construction industry and jobs that have been created since this government came to office. Since November 2014, 67 000 construction jobs have been created right across Victoria because of this government’s ambitious infrastructure agenda. That is 67 000—that is slightly more than the total population of Greater Shepparton, getting greater under the great member for Shepparton. These are jobs on our major projects like removing 75 dangerous level crossings, the Melbourne Metro Tunnel, the regional rail revival, and jobs building new homes thanks to our doubling of the first home owner grant in regional Victoria. While other states dream of this number of new jobs in construction, this government is delivering them. With half of the construction jobs created in this nation since November 2014 being delivered here in Victoria, you might even say ‘We’re nailing it’. Nearly one in 10 jobs in Victoria today are in the construction industry, and the latest figures show that this industry has grown by 28 per cent since this government came to office. That compares to the demolition job of those opposite, where construction jobs actually went backwards—backwards!—by 5400. It is no surprise that they failed to start a single major project. They basically took a four-year smoko, and it damaged the economic health of the state of Victoria. Mr R Smith: On a point of order, Speaker, members of the government continue to show a complete lack of respect for your rulings. The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Warrandyte— Mr R Smith: A complete lack of respect. The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Warrandyte can raise a point of order, but he should not reflect on the Chair in his point of order. Mr R Smith: I am not reflecting on the Chair; they are reflecting on the Chair. The SPEAKER: Order! I disagree. The member for Warrandyte’s point of order is? Mr R Smith: Members of the government continue to show a lack of respect for your rulings— The SPEAKER: In which way? Member for Warrandyte, the point of order is? Mr R Smith: and continue to attack the opposition during question time. The SPEAKER: Order! The member for Warrandyte will resume his seat. The Treasurer was not attacking the opposition. He was making reference to the actions of a former government. As I said before in relation to a point of order taken by the member for— Members interjecting. The SPEAKER: The member for Warrandyte can leave the chamber for the period of 1 hour. Member for Warrandyte withdrew from chamber. The SPEAKER: While I am making a ruling to a point of order that he has raised, I do not need the member to be talking to me. As I have indicated to the house before, ministers when making a statement or answering a question can make passing reference to the actions of a previous government, not attack the opposition. The Treasurer stayed on that topic for too long. He needs to now move on and make the rest of his statement. Mr PALLAS: My passing reference has passed. Victorians are going into construction in record numbers, and it is easy to see why. There are jobs in cities and in the regions. Have I mentioned recently the regional unemployment rate? Nearly 15 000 construction jobs have been created in regional Victoria. Digging a massive economic hole is no substitute for a capital works program.