The Nationals leader and Member for Murray Plains, Peter Walsh, today unveiled a $1 billion commitment to kick start regional Victoria’s economy after two years – and counting – of COVID.
Mr Walsh said the $1 billion commitment to regional Victoria was part of the Victorian Liberal Nationals announcing the largest investment in manufacturing in Victoria’s history.
He said the $2.5 billion Rebuilding Jobs, Bringing Manufacturing Home program will underpin a new wave of opportunity and hope for our state.
“Instead of debt-fuelled major projects for Melbourne, our plan will reinvigorate small and family businesses across the state and help rebuild and support communities from the ground up,” Mr Walsh explained.
“Employment is more than a pay-cheque, and by delivering purposeful and sustainable careers our plan will rebuild confidence, our mental health and help get Victoria back on track,” he said.
“After suffering the world’s longest lockdowns, Victoria has the highest unemployment in Australia, record debt and shattered mental health due to the ongoing loss of purpose and our way of life.
“While every other state is growing, Victoria’s population is in reverse as Melbourne has gone from the world’s most livable city to the nation’s most leave-able.”
Mr Walsh said manufacturing has been in decline, and the Andrews Labor Government has done nothing to arrest that trend.
He said without a new plan, and the money, to rebuild and recover from two lost years, Victoria will continue to be left behind.
The Rebuilding Jobs, Bringing Manufacturing Home program will return Victoria’s status as the engine room of Australian manufacturing by focusing on priority areas of strategic importance for the future, including:
- Health and medicine
- Clean energy, zero emissions and recycling
- Food, fibre and beverages
- Rare earth and mineral processing
- Defence, transport, aerospace technology
- Digital transformation
“Furthermore, this program will establish an industry led Manufacturing Excellence Taskforce to develop and shape Victoria’s manufacturing strategy,” Mr Walsh added.
“The Victorian Liberal Nationals’ plan deliver meaningful careers for workers, opportunity for business and hope for local communities. This investment means certainty Victorian small business, families, workers and communities to rebuild and recover with confidence,” he said.
“Labor’s lockdowns are a policy for the past – our plan will rebuild our state for the future.
“This largest ever investment in manufacturing will revitalise our existing manufacturing base and enable new opportunities that will drive growth and confidence.
“Our plan will unlock a new wave of smarter manufacturing in Victoria and deliver careers and opportunity for tens of thousands across the state.”