Major party contenders for the seat of Morwell have each vowed to make the Latrobe Valley a priority as Labor and the Coalition this week revealed their plans to create jobs.
Labor announced a ‘Back to Work’ plan with three multi-million dollar pools of funding aimed at creating 100,000 jobs.
The Coalition followed suit with an ambitious promise of 200,000 jobs over the next five years through major infrastructure projects and growth in manufacturing.
Member for Morwell Russell Northe said while the jobs plan might seem “broad and generic”, there would be benefits for Latrobe Valley businesses.
He again hinted towards a future announcement about replacing the government’s Valley-specific $15 million fund which has run out.
Labor candidate Jadon Mintern said the Valley would have access to all three pools of funding pledged by the opposition.
$500 million for 100,000 jobs
$200 million regional jobs fund to support job-creating projects in regional areas.
Payroll tax relief from a $100 million fund for companies hiring out-of-work youth, the long-term unemployed and retrenched.
‘Future Industries Fund’ of $200 million for job-creating projects in high-growth areas including medical technology and pharmaceuticals, new energy, food and fibre, transport, defence and construction technology and international education.
Independent panel of senior business and industry leaders to advise the premier on how to spend the package.
Reverse super trade missions to bring international business leaders to Victoria, and establish new Victorian Government Business Offices in South America, Turkey and Singapore.
AT A GLANCE…
“Labor has put a priority on creating jobs in the region and that definitely includes the Valley where we’ve got quite high unemployment and extremely concerning levels of youth unemployment,” Mr Mintern said.
“The discussions I’ve been having with people and the importance I’ve been stressing about the Latrobe Valley and the need to address the jobs crisis affecting the Latrobe Valley has led to an emphasis on regional areas.”
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics August figures, unemployment in Gippsland sits at four per cent.
Labor’s plan includes a $200 million regional jobs fund to support job-creating projects; a $100 million fund for payroll tax relief to companies hiring unemployed youth, the long-term unemployed and retrenched; a $200 million future industries fund for job-creating projects in high-growth areas including medical technology and pharmaceuticals; along with the establishment of an independent panel to advise the premier on how to spend the $500 million package.
Mr Mintern said a ‘reverse super trade mission’ arrangement would bring international business leaders to Victoria and he would push for visits to the Valley.
Labor intends to announce its plan for skills and innovation in the coming weeks.
The Coalition’s $33 billion plan includes training 850,000 Victorians, 60,000 new apprenticeships; $121.4 million to support people changing jobs; $274 million to grow the manufacturing sector; and $120 million to grow and develop the biotechnology industry, design and innovation capabilities and international education markets.
Mr Northe said the Coalition had demonstrated its commitment to the Latrobe Valley in the past four years through programs like the Latrobe Valley Industry and Infrastructure fund.
The initial $10 million fund was established by the former Labor Government and topped up to $15 million when the Coalition came to power.
By its completion, it will have helped 41 businesses to expand or upgrade facilities and Mr Northe estimates it has created about 880 new jobs.
“That program has served us well,” Mr Northe said.
“I’m confident I will have more to say prior to November 29 on a similar program we will be able to adopt locally.”
He said jobs would also be created through local infrastructure projects like the funded Latrobe Regional Hospital expansion and the pledged Morwell schools amalgamation project.