My question is to the Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government. Will the minister outline to the House how the government’s Regional Jobs and Investment Packages are unlocking jobs and economic opportunity for communities across the nation, including those in my electorate of Corangamite? Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches that would threaten the jobs of hardworking Australians in regional areas?
Dr John McVeigh:
I thank the member for her question, and I share with the House that it was fantastic to join the member for Corangamite and the Prime Minister in Geelong just a few weeks ago to announce the successful recipients of the coalition government’s Geelong regional jobs and investment package. Now, there is no more relentless advocate for their community in this House, no more passionate supporter of regional jobs, regional growth and local businesses, than the member for Corangamite. And this is why it was so pleasing to announce these transformational projects for her local community.
After an extensive assessment process involving strong community input, 21 projects totalling $20 million will be delivered in the Geelong region, providing residents with a wider range of employment and, of course, investment opportunities in the future. Some 600 new jobs generated in the construction phase and a further 600 jobs ongoing are proof that 600 families will confidently invest and spend more in the Geelong region.
This program is all about the government coming together with private investment to leverage significant investment in local communities. Twenty million dollars from the coalition government, in this case, will leverage a total investment pool of some $95 million. That includes support for LeMond Composites to build Australia’s first next-generation carbon-fibre manufacturing facility, which the Prime Minister was attending as well. This is truly a transformational project for the important regional area. Equally important to the Colac community is support for the implementation of the Lake Colac master plan—significant importance there in relation to improved amenities, community infrastructure and drawing in more tourists, as we saw with Councillor Joe McCracken. All of this adds to the record 403,000 jobs delivered by the coalition in the last 12 months, 120,000 of which were in regional Australia.
What are the threats to this approach? Those threats sit opposite. We’re delivering for regional Australia. The interests of regional Australia are simply a niche issue for the Australian Labor Party. The Leader of the Opposition’s political opportunism knows no bounds. The Batman by-election will be the coalface once again, where the opposition says whatever it needs to say at the expense of regional Australia, simply to appease inner-city Greens voters. Unlike those opposite, many regional members of the coalition from the great Liberal and National parties are standing up for regional Australia. We want to see those jobs and growth.