Member for Western Victoria
Derryn Hinch’s Justice Party

Rural and Regional Employment- Adjournment Debate

Mr GRIMLEY (Western Victoria) (17:53): My adjournment matter is for the attention of the Treasurer, and it relates to the future of jobs and employment in rural and regional Victoria. Victoria’s strong economy has generated record jobs growth over the past four financial years. Since November 2014 the unemployment rate has fallen by 2.1 per cent to 4.6 per cent in March 2019. The number of jobs has increased by more than 450 000 over the same period, an increase of over 15 per cent, which represents the highest growth rate in the nation. While there is arguably a good story to tell at the moment, I fear that the fairytale economic narrative of the past decade may fade. If I reflect on the past year I have spent in this Parliament, there have been a number of policy directions undertaken by this government which may benefit metropolitan Melbourne at the expense of rural and regional Victoria. In the 2019–20 state budget there was an announcement of a 2.75 per cent gold royalty—announced with little consultation and potentially putting at risk hundreds of mining jobs in my electorate of Western Victoria. The government also legislated the end of commercial fishing in the East Gippsland lakes—a sensible decision, given declining fish stocks. However, this also resulted in the loss of regional jobs. This Parliament has also voted in favour of a legislated target of 50 per cent renewable energy by 2030. While there is job growth in the renewable energy sector in my electorate of Western Victoria, there continues to be concern about the loss of jobs in conventional coalmines and energy generation. Last sitting week my colleague from Northern Victoria Ms Maxwell also introduced a motion calling on greater clarity regarding the funding and forward planning of the Murray Basin rail project. This project has the capacity to be a centrepiece infrastructure project for rural and regional Victoria, creating thousands of long-term jobs and safeguarding local farming industries through a more efficient passage of freight. And of course last week the Premier announced an end to the logging of native trees in Victoria over the next decade. While the government is supporting the phasing out of the sector with a $120 million funding package, this will ultimately lead to the loss of jobs which today exist. I acknowledge the challenges that come with managing an economy the size and scale of Victoria’s. Collectively these changes paint a dim picture for job growth in rural and regional Victoria. Mining, agriculture, manufacturing and construction all play a vital role in ensuring the economic sustainability of rural and regional Victoria. Therefore the action that I seek is for the Treasurer to outline the future of employment and jobs growth in rural and regional Victoria so that our communities feel confident that the government is supporting them in the same way it is supporting metropolitan Melbourne.


Keep up with the latest
Western Victoria News.

Subscribe to my newsletter…

Enter your details to keep up to date with what I am doing in Parliament and in the community.