12 August 2015

Speech – $14 million Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre

It was a great day in Geelong and Corangamite last week when the Prime Minister visited to announce a $14 million Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre. This is an incredibly important initiative for our region. The growth centre will lift growth and productivity and drive new innovations in our region. It also sends a very strong signal to our nation that Geelong and Corangamite are at the forefront of advanced manufacturing. This is an absolute game changer and just shows how much the Abbott government is investing in the jobs of the future and, of course, in advanced manufacturing.

The first task of the Advanced Manufacturing Growth Centre will be to develop a competitiveness plan. That will ensure that domestic businesses will be linked with exports and export opportunities. It will identify the jobs and skills needed and provide a pipeline of well-developed innovations ready to commercialise. So this is incredibly significant for our region. There is more. I am very pleased to say that we have also announced another $1.3 million for Geelong Region Job Connections. This is an incredibly important $2.6 million over the next two years to drive local job-creation projects, to fund the local employment facilitator, to set up a Job Connections office and to fund really important initiatives like the Geelong Jobs Fair.
We are absolutely determined to do everything we can to drive jobs growth. Despite what Labor would have you believe, in Corangamite the current unemployment rate is only 5.2 per cent. We have been seeing some terrific jobs growth over the last 12 months. While, yes, there are pressures in some sectors—in the manufacturing sector in particular—we are working incredibly hard, combined also with a new TradeStart office that we will be opening in Geelong, to help businesses connect with wonderful export opportunities—supplemented, of course, by the three free-trade agreements which we are delivering. For instance, the free trade agreement with China will deliver some 178,000 jobs over the next 20 years, which just goes to show how reckless and irresponsible the xenophobic union campaign against the free trade agreements is.

Along with our rollout to 40,000 premises receiving the NBN, including some 14,000 premises in the electorate of Corio—we heard a very deceptive and dishonest contribution by the member for Corio before—we are working very hard. We are putting $15 million into the Geelong Region Innovation and Investment Fund—all of that money delivered by our government—for upgrading roads and assisting small business. We are working very hard and we are not making terribly reckless decisions like cutting the East West Link project and destroying 7,000 jobs.