Victorian Infrastructure Projects
Mr CARROLL (Minister for Industry and Employment) (14:33:40) — It is my pleasure to speak on a very important matter of public importance (MPI) on infrastructure and jobs and to follow the member for Croydon. I think we should make sure we actually download that last paragraph of ‘Woulda, coulda, shoulda, we’re gonna’. We heard all that before in the previous Liberal government, and we saw nothing was completed.
I was out with the Premier only a couple of days ago looking at the Melbourne Park redevelopment, and we saw firsthand the infrastructure getting built under this government, with 88 strategic projects in three and a half years versus eight. That is 10 times the amount of strategic projects. The supply chain — the small and medium-sized enterprises — including steel and bitumen is going gangbusters out there. Even Malcolm Turnbull is trying to take our story and talk about jobs and economic activity because he is seeing how well Victoria is doing.
It was actually very interesting. I was on ABC Perth the other day on the space agency. They introduced me by saying they have never seen things going so well in Victoria and can’t they just handball it to us? So we are actually getting a reputation not only in our own community in Victoria but right around the country. Things are going so well on infrastructure and jobs, and we should be very proud, from the Premier and the cabinet to the parliamentary secretaries and the backbenchers. It is a wonderful time to be in government and to be getting things done.
To be more to the point, we are leading the nation in jobs and economic growth. Since November 2014 our economy has grown by over 300 000 new jobs — the largest employment increase of any state in Australia. It speaks for itself. Almost two-thirds of those jobs are full-time — over 200 000. We know that for four years the economy was in sleep mode, and we had to wake it up. For the past three and a half years our infrastructure and investments have been very significant. I mentioned the 88 versus eight. Our 88 projects are providing over $50 billion in economic infrastructure, a strong pipeline right through from big businesses to small businesses. Our Victorian Industry Participation Policy, in unison with our Major Projects Skills Guarantee, is making sure all those infrastructure projects listed in the MPI have apprentices, have trainees and have engineering cadets.
The Industry Capability Network (ICN) in Victoria is doing outstanding work in making sure anyone in any local community can be involved. You could be in Benalla and affected by the West Gate tunnel by making the bitumen that will be needed for it. We are making sure we are bringing regional Victoria with us as well, and I will say a little bit on that very shortly.
The member for Croydon is also a passionate advocate for the manufacturing industry, and I actually say that in all seriousness because I know he is. Under our government manufacturing has continued to grow for 16 consecutive months, even on the back of the closure of automotive manufacturing plants. Ford in Broadmeadows — the member for Broadmeadows has been a strong advocate for Ford — still has a unique Asia-Pacific design studio servicing the community. Everyone loves Australia for our unique trams, buses and wildlife. We are a proven testing ground for the automotive sector and will remain so. While I am industry minister, I will do anything I can to support this. We can also look at Holden. Mike Simcoe, the head of design in Detroit, is a local RMIT student who worked his way up through Holden. He is now putting us on the map for our design skills, our university sector and our engineering professionalism. I met with Toyota only the other day. Toyota’s head office has moved from New South Wales to Victoria. Their Altona plant is going to become the national distribution centre for parts and accessories for all of Australia. It is going to be one of those plants that becomes real Industry 4.0 that will be decked out incredibly.
We have such good work to do. When you think of ‘auto’, you think of the tsunami we thought we were going to expect, but less than 20 per cent of Tier 1s and Tier 2s have folded. Why? Because of the programs we put in place through the Local Industry Fund for Transition program, the work and skill centres of Minister Tierney in the other place and the work she has done on TAFE and skills, we are making sure that no matter where you are in your working life — whether you are a mature-age student, an apprentice or whatever it be — that there is every opportunity to grow and succeed. It is very, very important that we continue to do that.
I am very proud too of our social procurement framework, which goes to the heart of these infrastructure projects that are listed. It is very important as a government that you bring along with you some of the most forgotten Victorians, whether they be victims of family violence, whether sometimes they be Indigenous Victorians or young people who just need a start. That is what we are doing with our major projects. We are tweaking the levers, whether it be social procurement policy, industry participation policy or the Major Projects Skills Guarantee under our infrastructure investments, particularly under the Minister for Roads and Road Safety and the Minister for Public Transport. I must also commend my good friend the member for Albert Park and the work that he is doing at the State Library of Victoria, a unique cultural institution. The apprentices there are getting all the challenges that a unique building presents to redesign and rebuild it for the 21st century. They will love one day to be able to say to their kids, ‘I helped put those lights up there. I helped rebuild that state library. I helped work on the Metro Tunnel’, because they know we are not only building infrastructure, we are helping build their careers, their apprenticeships and their skills that will last them for a lifetime. I am very, very proud of that.
Our support of the manufacturing sector — $120 million — is incredible. The member for Yuroke and I were only recently at Dulux. Dulux had about 1100 applications for their new facility. It is decked out by Siemens, and Industry 4.0 runs right through it. I know you have got Exhibition Street up for sale. If you do need a coat of paint, make sure you support Dulux because if you need a lick of paint — I think on the ad it says, ‘Do it once, do it right, do it with Dulux’. That is my message: if you are going to put Exhibition Street up for sale, please consider Dulux.
On a very serious note, I think on both sides of the chamber we would all agree that manufacturing is something that is unique to Victoria. We have been doing everything we can to support manufacturing through our $120 million investment, which is why you have seen the growth continue despite the closure of auto manufacturing. But manufacturing — as the member for Macedon knows too, and I have been to her electorate — is 20 per cent located in regional Victoria. The access to freeway network is going to improve, as outlined in this MPI, industrial land raw materials. It is a very important sector, which is why we are doing such great work now to set up regional manufacturing clusters.
Wearing my employment hat, what I love about manufacturing is that 80 per cent of the employees in manufacturing are full time. It is an incredible success story that is unique to Victoria. But it is also going through a transition, and we have seen how manufacturing goes through that transition where it does get more locomotion, more digitised and goes through that second storey that will be its success going forward. My parliamentary secretary is doing great work out in Eltham and doing great work on promoting the north-east link.
The member for Croydon did raise the question of level crossings, and he mentioned David Davis in the other place. If you are going to use him, I suggest that you make sure he gets his script right because he came out to the Buckley Street level crossing in Essendon only recently and he was basically howled down. People want to know what you are actually going to do, what is your story. We know about the intersection removal program, which is where you will get to the next set of traffic lights only a little bit quicker.
What else is the shadow minister going to offer? Because whether it be the Level Crossing Removal Authority, whether it be north-east link, the Metro Tunnel or whether it be the West Gate tunnel and the jobs that it will create in Benalla, we know that these are the investments that Victoria needs. Everyone knows we are going through the biggest population boom since the gold rush. In fact over 125 000 people have started to call Victoria home for two consecutive years. If it was not for the change of government, where would we be right now? Think about the thought: ‘Where would we be right now if there was not a change of government three and a half years ago?’. We do not know where we would be. They would still be offering tickets to Melbourne Airport with no actual airport rail link. You would be able to go to Spencer Street and grab a ticket to go to the airport by train, but there would not be a train link there.
We are still getting on with the job. It is very, very important. We have a very clear message for Victorians that — through our infrastructure investments, the jobs it has created and the starts it is giving to young Victorians in particular, through to our Local Jobs First policies — we are getting on with the job and making sure no-one is left behind. I am very proud to be working very closely with the Premier, who is doing an outstanding job every day. He gets infrastructure, the Premier, he gets industry policy and he gets employment programs. For our government to be able through our Jobs Victoria program have it working very closely with the Major Projects Skills Guarantee and our infrastructure investment — what we are doing in this state right now is unprecedented, with some $53 billion in infrastructure investments affecting everybody. We see it. Everyone talks to me. They just go out into their local community — whether it is the level crossing, whether it is the road widening or whether it is a school being rebuilt — it has been an incredible three and a half years of getting the job done, but also of making sure we get the job done fairly and do not leave any Victorian behind.