Why it’s so important to GROW jobs

JOBS GROWTH: Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford with Treasurer of Highlands LLEN David Clark. Picture: Greg Gliddon
JOBS GROWTH: Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford with Treasurer of Highlands LLEN David Clark. Picture: Greg Gliddon

IF $1 from every $20 spent by Ballarat residents out of town was brought back into the economy, it would create up to 800 new jobs.

That is what a new program, launched by Regional Development Minister Jaala Pulford yesterday aims to achieve in Ballarat.

The GROW program was piloted in Geelong and has already created 80 new jobs pathways for locals, seeing 80 businesses sign on across that city.

The program is being rolled out across the state and will be administered in Ballarat by Highlands LLEN.

Highlands LLEN treasurer David Clark said Ballarat was keen to develop a program similar to the success of Geelong.

So many people want to work close to where they are, the whole concept is very simple,” Mr Clark said.

“Let’s spend our money locally and by that it will create jobs locally.

“If we can move $1 in every $20 that is taken out, we will put in 700-800 jobs locally. It’s a really significant change and we’re incredibly excited by coordinating local businesses to do that.”

One of the local businesses to already sign up is Haymes Paint.

Haymes chief executive Rodney Walton said for a family owned, locally-based company, a program such as this would be beneficial.

“We have a strong belief in growing the local economy and supporting the community and this program will do both of those,” Mr Walton said.

“It’s going to encourage businesses to work together, make the economy stronger and it will hopefully see an opportunity for those who are less fortunate to have work right here in Ballarat which we believe will deliver a stronger community.”

Ms Pulford said GROW will bring business, government, community organisations and individuals together to address disadvantage in areas of high unemployment.

She said all GROW partners work to build a stronger local economy and offer opportunities to job seekers in places where there are high rates of joblessness. “GROW Ballarat will be designed to encourage businesses and agencies to do things differently by building an appetite for collaboration within the Ballarat business community,” she said.