MINISTERS STATEMENTS: REGIONAL EMPLOYMENT
Mr PALLAS (Werribee) (12:43:40): I rise to update the house about Victoria’s record low regional unemployment rate. There is of course only one path to economic vitality in regional Victoria, and that is together with an Andrews Labor government. When we were first elected in November 2014 Victoria’s regional unemployment rate was 6.6 per cent. Today it is just 4.2 per cent. That is the lowest in the nation, and that is the lowest on record. Let me emphasise that—ever, ever. That is the lowest level of unemployment in regional Victoria. We have got over 62 000 people who have found jobs under Labor since we were elected; 80 per cent of those jobs are full-time jobs. That is the equivalent of the combined populations of Warrnambool and Mildura. With more than $13 billion spent in our first term on these projects and programs that matter most to regional Victorians, the government is delivering for our regions. We are building regional infrastructure, like our $1.7 billion regional rail revival and upgrades to every regional passenger train line in the state. We are delivering jobs by basing services in our regions, like Regional Roads Victoria and the new Labour Hire Licensing Authority. And of course we are delivering jobs in our regions by giving regional businesses a competitive edge by reducing the payroll tax rate to the lowest rate in the country, at just over 1.2 per cent. And with even more investment in regional Victoria in the budget, we are only getting started. An Andrews Labor government has delivered real growth, infrastructure, services and jobs for our regions, and the only fake news today is that the coalition stands up for regional Victoria.