MINISTERS STATEMENTS: REGIONAL EMPLOYMENT
Mr PALLAS (Werribee—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Industrial Relations) (11:31:45): I am pleased to update the house on the regional unemployment rate, which now sits at an all-time record low of 3.8 per cent. Contrast that to five years ago, when there was an ambulance crisis, a TAFE crisis and of course a jobs crisis, with the regional unemployment rate peaking at 6.6 per cent. Since November 2014 the number of jobs in regional Victoria has increased by over 60 000, and of course 45 000 of those jobs are full-time. How many full‑time regional jobs were created by those opposite? Not 20 000, not 10 000, not zero—in fact they created minus 7500. The current regional jobs boom is not an accident. It is because we have invested in our regions and it is because as a government we value investment and we make it where it counts, into regional Victoria, where we have also halved the regional payroll tax rate. I recently had pleasure in visiting our great local MPs in the Geelong region, where the unemployment rate has fallen from 8.1 per cent to 4.8 per cent since this government was elected. I also visited the Latrobe-Gippsland region once again last month, where the unemployment rate has dropped from 5.9 per cent to 3 per cent. Later this month I will be excited to join two passionate representatives from the Ballarat region, the member for Buninyong and the member for Wendouree, where we have seen unemployment drop a whopping 4.5 per cent since the election of the Andrews government, from 6.9 per cent to 2.4 per cent—quite incredible. The government is getting on with the job and delivering jobs for regional Victoria.