Back to Work Bill

Dear Editor,

I am extremely concerned for those workers and their families that have been affected by recent job losses in our region. National unemployment data shows that this situation is not unique to our community but in a regional area our challenges are great in an economy that is under pressure.

Under the former Coalition State Government, unemployment increased from 4.9 per cent in December 2010 to 6.8 per cent today with youth unemployment being much higher.

In four years the Liberals failed to deliver a jobs plan for our state, hitting our economy hard. This has been further compounded by the Abbott Government’s savage cuts to manufacturing and community services.

It is vital that we turn this trend around and take action to create new employment opportunities which will build hope for those looking for work.

The first act of the Andrews Labor Government has been to enact the Back to Work Bill which will provide funding incentives to employers who provide full time work to young people, long term unemployed or those who have been retrenched. I was pleased to speak in parliament this week on this Back to Work Bill which will be supported with $100 million funding.

This is, however, only a part of the Andrew’s government plans to build employment opportunities with a further $500 million to be allocated to jobs and investment strategies developed by a panel of business and industry leaders soon to be announced by the Premier.

We have also identified that investment in future industries and innovation in technology, medical research, clean energy, food & fibre, transport and education are essential to our future prosperity with $100 million to be focused on jobs in regional Victoria.

Labor’s investment will ensure that we focus on opportunities for jobs in this region and across the state and they will provide a sense of hope and confidence to those wanting work.

Geoff Howard

Member for Buninyong

(Published in The Courier 17/02/15)