NO CONFIDENCE IN GOVERNMENT
Mr CARROLL (Minister for Industry and Employment) (17:21:30) — I rise to speak against this motion, which is nothing more than a distraction. Incredibly, I think Peter Dutton is not the only one who has got his résumé out there today, is he? It is incredible. I heard about the former lawyer. The barrister line did not come out today from the shadow Treasurer, but he almost did the Peter Costello dance and he almost got a clap from me because I think that was probably one of Peter Costello’s finest moments in the federal Parliament.
This motion is nothing more than a desperate, ill‑conceived attack on the government. When you look at the government of the day, the Andrews Labor government, let us just go through the figures. There is a 5 per cent unemployment rate. What was it under the coalition? It was 6.7 per cent when they left office. The regional unemployment rate is 4.9 per cent and the participation rate over 65 per cent, the highest amongst the non‑mining states. Since we came to office we have created three times the number of jobs. Eight times the number of infrastructure projects are underway. In fact 370 000 new jobs have been created, the highest among the states. Of the 130 000 jobs created in the coalition’s term, only 38 600 were full‑time.
The figures speak for themselves when you look at our manufacturing sector. I actually did a little bit of media this morning on auto manufacturing following Holden’s announcement of 150 jobs. I am not sure I will make the news cut tonight given the shenanigans happening in Canberra as we speak. The Australian Industry Group’s own Victorian performance of manufacturing index shows that under the Andrews Labor government we have had 17 consecutive months of growth in our manufacturing sector. We know on this side of the house that you build great communities on the back of manufacturing and great communities on the back of investments in infrastructure. We know it will always be a cornerstone of our economy, with a contribution of some $27 billion to our economy.
Let us go to our Victorian Industry Participation Policy. There are 88 strategic projects underway versus their eight when they were in office. But more than that, we are putting apprenticeships, engineering and traineeships at the heart of everything we do, with our mandated 10 per cent Major Projects Skills Guarantee giving young people, who are our future, an opportunity not only to define themselves and shape themselves but also to shape our wonderful city on a game‑changing major project. There is also one of our flagship initiatives, the Jobs Victoria program, which grew out of a review conducted by the University of Melbourne, which really showed that the commonwealth government were leaving too many Victorians behind with their Job Active program.
I have been to Canberra to speak to the federal jobs minister, Michaelia Cash, and the relevant ministers. Jobs Victoria is getting real runs on the board through our 51 network providers, working with partners in the community sector to find the jobs and, more than that, to find the people that come from a range of backgrounds, to get them into work, to give them every opportunity to have the dignity of work and to succeed. I know you, Deputy Speaker, have seen firsthand some of the work the government has done in the disability sector, especially with specialists and La Trobe University doing wonderful work for people living with autism.
I am very proud, and I think the whole government is proud, of our major projects that are doing everything. Let us go through them: the Melbourne Metro tunnel, the CityLink Tulla widening, the E. J. Whitten Bridge, our schools and hospitals, and our procurement program. Our social procurement framework was recently released to make sure that everything we do as a government looks after everyone and does not leave anyone behind, whether they be disadvantaged Victorians, Aboriginal Victorians or women who have suffered family violence, making sure we do everything we can to support every part of the Victorian economy but also every part of Victoria.
As I said earlier, the unemployment rates speak for themselves. Jobs Victoria is making a real difference to people: 7900 hundred jobseekers have found work through our Jobs Victoria initiative. It was originally funded at just under $70 million and the recent budget added $20 million because the facts speak for themselves. As the employment minister I can go to the Treasurer and speak to him about how this program is putting more people into work to become sustainable members of the community and to pay taxes, which is very important. This is why this program is a very important program.
When you look at places like Moe, Geelong, Ballarat, Shepparton and Carlton, 615 people in these places have found work through the Brotherhood of St Laurence and our work and learning centres. We have assisted more than 400 vulnerable young people to find work and rewarding careers in the public sector through our Jobs Victoria youth employment and cadetship programs. Nine hundred workers in the Latrobe Valley have been given work thanks to our investments. There are 3500 new opportunities for local engineering cadets, apprentices and trainees on our major projects, giving them every opportunity to succeed. One thousand of them are on the job right now. We have delivered over 6000 new manufacturing jobs as a direct result of our investments — some $120 million into manufacturing.
Many people will be surprised to know that since the closure of the auto sector less than 20 per cent of tier 1 and tier 2 businesses have folded. That is the work of Minister Tierney and the investments she is making in our training sector in our skills and jobs centres. But there is also $120 million from the work the member for Williamstown did through our Local Industry Fund for Transition. We did everything we could to support the auto industry. We are seeing the benefits of it when we consider the announcement that Holden have made today. It is a very significant announcement that comes off the back of the policy settings and infrastructure we have put in place as a government. There will be 150 new engineers at Holden to focus on advanced vehicle development, including autonomous and electric vehicles. Why have Holden chosen to do this? It is because of the talent coming through our world‑class engineering schools in Victoria. Mike Simcoe himself, the head of GM Design, is a Melburnian, a former RMIT engineering graduate, who is, I think, either the first or second person from Australia to hold that role. It is a very significant role as the head of a global company like General Motors.
I highlight the fact that that company is wanting to get and harness the best engineering minds in the country. As members know, we produce more engineering graduates than anywhere else in Australia and we are home to some 30 per cent of Australia’s qualified engineers. This announcement by Holden, through their parent company General Motors, with Mike Simcoe in town from Detroit, is a very momentous day. I had the pleasure of seeing the work that Detroit GM are doing, and there is no doubt that autonomous, electric and hydrogen vehicles are all part of the future. We need to embrace it, we need to support it and we need to get behind it every step of the way.
Our manufacturing sector has continued to grow, and it is a very important industry. Yes, we are very upset at losing the Land 400 defence contract and to see that go to Queensland, but we know there will be other opportunities. That is why we are continuing to invest to make sure our workforce has everything they need, and the investments in TAFE are very significant to ensure that we have the workforce ready to take up the challenge.
I think the Premier said it best when he said that we will leave no stone unturned to support workers and to support jobs. My predecessor, the member for Williamstown, did a great job in terms of Alcoa and the refinery in Portland. He went every step of the way to support those workers and make sure the possible closure of that plant did not happen. I want to pay tribute to the member for Williamstown, who led the effort, along with the Premier and the Treasurer, to ensure that that facility continued to operate.
On top of that, our $90 million investment in Jobs Victoria gives every opportunity to young people. I know the Treasurer himself is a great supporter of this program. He knows and has seen firsthand the value for the people of Werribee of the Werribee‑Tarneit community revitalisation project. That money comes from our $10.8 million community revitalisation fund, which is really supporting and making sure that people, whether they be in different housing estates — Flemington, Dandenong, Hume or Shepparton — get every opportunity to succeed, to live a life of purpose and to get every opportunity that only a Labor government can deliver. The members for Essendon, Dandenong, Broadmeadows, Sunbury, Yuroke, Werribee and Tarneit have all been committed to ensuring, through our community revitalisation funding programs, that their communities share in the state’s economic success. Already the project has supported and seen 200 young people go into sustainable employment and assisted 50 people experiencing disadvantage to set up their own businesses.
Recently I visited Ability Works Australia in the member for Kew’s electorate to meet with some of the dedicated team there. Ability Works is an outstanding organisation supporting people from the disability sector to get every opportunity to participate, and the benefits of work, as we know, are so important. There I met Helen, who is a great case study of what is possible. Helen has a disability and thought she would never find any meaningful work. I was greeted with a very wide smile when I met her, but did not know that the machine and computer she was operating — a very large machine — was repairing the 500 e‑tags that are tested daily using a purpose‑built machine. Helen gets the e‑tags that are faulty or do not work and repairs them. It is an incredible machine that was actually built by the people working at Ability Works. It is purpose‑built and purpose‑made, and they do a lot of that. The Good Friday Appeal warms every person’s heart, but it would warm people’s hearts even more to know that the people at Ability Works are the people that actually put the tins together that you see in milk bars and shopping centres. They are a wonderful organisation, and if the member for Kew is listening, I advise him to make sure he gets out there and sees these people, because they are very important.
We always said that as a government we would put people first when we got the great honour of serving this great state, and that is what we have been doing, particularly through putting local jobs and local businesses first. With a bit of luck we will hopefully reach 100 strategic projects underway before the next election. But how many did the Liberal Party coalition achieve? Very few. Only eight. It is not just simply a matter of announcing a major project and then forgetting about it. It is about the steel, it is about the bitumen and it is about the electricity. It is about trying to ensure that every component is Victorian‑made where we can.
We all know what those opposite wanted to do when they were last in office. When looking at the rail network, they looked overseas first. They looked at trains made in South Korea before they would even think about putting a Victorian train on the rail network. We have got 100 per cent local steel on our level crossing removal program and 92 per cent steel on the West Gate tunnel project. We are making sure we are putting every Victorian first.
I heard the Leader of the Opposition’s speech, and I could not believe when he spoke on crystal methamphetamine. I sat on that inquiry; I was here. I note that Mr Ramsay in the other place, who I give credit to and who chaired the committee, said it was probably the highlight of his career in the Victorian Parliament. That committee did do some excellent work, and I would caution the Leader of the Opposition to be very careful when he tries to compare the previous government’s reforms in the area of addressing crystal methamphetamine to this government. Having sat on the inquiry and having continued to follow the issue very closely, I think the Andrews Labor government — we heard from the Minister for Health just before — including the Attorney‑General and the Minister for Mental Health, have done an excellent job. I have got an Age editorial here from September 2014:
The report, which makes 54 recommendations, must be backed by manifold action. Premier Denis Napthine has promised to expedite his government’s response and deliver ‘significant’ measures within six months.
What did he do? He came in and said on Hansard:
The coalition government is committed to eliminating the scourge of ice in our community.
That is why we have funded an extra 11 sniffer dogs, and particularly an extra eight dogs in regional and rural Victoria.
When you go through it, look at what the Premier has done himself. He leads an ice action task force. The Attorney‑General has expanded the Drug Court. Jeff Kennett even wanted to get on board for a little while, but it was either his way or the highway. When you look at what we have done as a government to combat the scourge of ice, this government has led the way and has led Australia in making sure we do everything we can.
If you go through the Age editorial here, the dot points on the recommendations read:
Creating a ministerial council, led by the Premier …
Who did that? Daniel Andrews.
Expanding the Drug Court …
Who did that? Martin Pakula.
Stronger measures to identify and prosecute manufacturers …
Who did that? Lisa Neville.
Better‑resourced and expanded outpatient facilities.
Who did that? Martin Foley. Our cabinet’s record, led by the Premier, speaks for itself, and that is what we are doing.
Recently I was in Hastings. I was at BlueScope Steel, which congratulated me as Minister for Industry and Employment and the government for all we are doing to support the industry. This is a company that was once valued at under a dollar during the global financial crisis. They handed down their results very recently, and the shares are going very well. I do not know if they know the local member and just what a sharpshooter he is. He is at the front bench right now, but we all know what the member for Hastings is. He just keeps getting around. He was out in my neck of the woods recently. He was lost. He was looking at the Buckley Street level crossing that would only be removed by a Labor government, and he was there with Mr Davis. We are getting on with the job, putting more Victorians to work.
The DEPUTY SPEAKER — The member’s time has expired. Can I remind members to refer to other members by their correct titles. I would also remind members of standing order 119 regarding offensive and unbecoming words.