MINISTERS STATEMENTS: REGIONAL EMPLOYMENT
Mr PALLAS (Werribee—Treasurer, Minister for Economic Development, Minister for Industrial Relations) (11:33:15): I rise to update the house yet again on the latest regional unemployment figures. I know I am starting to sound a bit like a broken record on regional unemployment, but we have just broken the record again. These numbers just keep getting lower and lower. July’s ABS figures had Victoria’s regional unemployment rate at 3.7 per cent. Now, this is not only the lowest regional rate in the nation but the lowest regional unemployment rate that Victoria has ever had, only surpassing the record we set last month. This is fantastic. It is a fantastic achievement for regional Victoria. When the member for Malvern was Treasurer the regional unemployment rate peaked at 6.6 per cent. Today it is nearly a full three percentage points lower, with 57 000 more regional Victorians now in work. That is nearly three times the number of regional jobs created by those opposite in their last term of government. So what is driving this record-low regional unemployment rate, you may well ask? The short answer is this government’s focus on creating jobs right across the state, whether it be regional payroll tax rates, which have been halved and which during this term of government we will half again to 25 per cent of the metropolitan rate. And let us not forget of course that we are going to reduce stamp duty in regional Victoria for commercial and industrial property by 50 per cent. In our first term we invested $13.6 billion, and there is another $2.6 billion in this budget. We have put in almost twice what those opposite invested in regional Victoria, and the investment and growth continue. Mr T Bull: On a point of order, Speaker, I wish to draw your attention to question 797, which was a question to the Minister for Public Transport for the Minister for Fishing and Boating in the other place that related to the boating safety facilities program. The answer to that question is now well and truly overdue. It is a really important issue for my electorate, and I bring your attention to it and ask you to extract a response, if that is possible. The SPEAKER: Thank you for raising that matter. I will follow that up. Mr Wakeling: On a point of order, Speaker, I wish to draw your attention to questions 861, 860, 857 and 732, which were due in July. I also draw to your attention questions 481 and 479, which were to the Attorney-General. They have been due since May. The SPEAKER: I thank the member for Ferntree Gully for those questions that need to be answered, and I will chase those matters up.