Jobs must rise above politics: VECCI

BOTH sides of politics should be open for business, according to Victoria's most main employer group.

Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry chief executive officer Mark Stone said he was not in Ballarat on Monday to pick sides ahead of the Victorian state election on November 29, but rather to convince both sides to back VECCI's policies on jobs, training, infrastructure and international engagement.

VECCI launched its state election business agenda for Ballarat at Sovereign Hill.

Mr Stone said he had dialogue with Premier Denis Napthine and opposition leader Daniel Andrews, and would speak with Nationals leader Peter Ryan ahead of the election.

"We have people who vote for one or the other major political parties, business is like that," Mr Stone said. "We are taking the priorities of business to both major parties and we would encourage them both to subscribe to most, if not all of our campaign points.

"What I would say is we need a majority government one way or the other. We don't need a hung parliament."

VECCI's key priorities for the next government include: lifting the threshold at which a business starts paying payroll tax to $850,000 to encourage employment; boosting local content in all government purchasing to 20 per cent; redevelop the Ballarat Railway Station precinct; start construction of the East West Link; begin building the Melbourne Rail Link; increase funding for Vocational Education and Training in schools; and to commit $75 million to boost agricultural exports.

"Ballarat, being so close to Melbourne and being a fast-growing centre, relies on the things the rest of Victoria relies upon: jobs, training for young people, infrastructure such as the Ballarat railway station and some of the services which will make Ballarat even more accessible," he said.

"Ballarat is also at the heart of an agribusiness area so the more we can do to encourage particularly Asian countries to buy our produce the more successful local businesses will be."

Mr Stone said the Bracks, Brumby and Napthine state governments had "all done a very good job in international engagement" on behalf of Victorian exporters.

He also said the quality of local members of parliament was more important than their affiliation.

"A good member of parliament will be as effective whether they are in government or they are not in government. It depends on the nature of the member of parliament," he said.


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