THE Labor Party has finally unveiled its jobs plan for regional Victoria, which it believes will create 100,000 full-time positions.
As part of the plan, Labor will establish a $200 million fund specifically for regional Victoria to help support job-creating projects.
However, the plan provides no specific mention of Ballarat, which puts it at odds with the Liberal Party’s plan to shift the headquarters of VicRoads to the city.
Commerce Ballarat chair Andrew Rowan said the plan was a good start, but he hoped the decentralisation of Melbourne-based government agencies would continue.
“I think that from our perspective, both parties need to focus on jobs and the initiatives that are in the Labor plan are a good start,” he said.
“From our perspective locally, there is no plan for decentralisation such as the moving of VicRoads headquarters to Ballarat (in the plan).
“I think that certainly one of things that can stimulate economic activity in regional areas is the relocation of government departments.”
Mr Rowan said he supported the establishment of a $100 million fund for payroll tax relief to companies who hire unemployed young people, the long-term unemployed and retrenched workers.
Ballarat West MP Sharon Knight said there would be further announcements to come which would focus
on the regional perspective of the plan.
“This is just another part of that broader picture around providing the best environment to create jobs,” she said.
“The key message I want to get across is that Labor acknowledges that there is a job crisis and we are prepared to do something about it.
“You have to take a really detailed look at every part of our economy and every part of our industries and provide support so they will be strong and there will be jobs there.”
Liberal candidate for Wendouree Craig Coltman hit out at the plan which he said “had nothing for Ballarat”.
“It’s just a brochure,” he said.
“It is very short on detail. I would like to know what our local members are doing to promote jobs here in Ballarat.
“It is not just the jobs that VicRoads will deliver, it is the economic activity that will flow from it.”