House of Representatives Speech- Economy Adjournment

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to speak during the grievance debate about the impact of the global economic recession on families and businesses in my electorate. In particular, I spoke about some of the success stories that we have seen locally, even in these difficult economic times, and how the Rudd government is working hard to support jobs and businesses throughout this period. Unfortunately, I was interrupted by a division on a very important bill. I wanted to come back to this issue because it is so crucial to our local communities—to families and businesses in my electorate. I had been talking about a number of great local companies—Clean TeQ, who have won funding of almost $1 million under the Climate Ready program and who have almost doubled their staff in the past 18 months, and Frontline Australasia, who are working closely with the CSIRO in developing new industrial processes for a form of titanium pipe which could save thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases each year and uses Australian minerals for manufacturing here rather than being exported as raw material.

Earlier this week, I had the opportunity to speak during the grievance debate about the impact of the global economic recession on families and businesses in my electorate. In particular, I spoke about some of the success stories that we have seen locally, even in these difficult economic times, and how the Rudd government is working hard to support jobs and businesses throughout this period. Unfortunately, I was interrupted by a division on a very important bill. I wanted to come back to this issue because it is so crucial to our local communities—to families and businesses in my electorate. I had been talking about a number of great local companies—Clean TeQ, who have won funding of almost $1 million under the Climate Ready program and who have almost doubled their staff in the past 18 months, and Frontline Australasia, who are working closely with the CSIRO in developing new industrial processes for a form of titanium pipe which could save thousands of tonnes of greenhouse gases each year and uses Australian minerals for manufacturing here rather than being exported as raw material.

The local businesses that I know, speak to and visit understand the critical difference that the macroeconomic policies of this government have made. For manufacturers, particularly small and medium sized businesses, our actions in stabilising the financial system through the guarantees have been crucial in supporting access to credit, without which businesses will not have the cash to support their operations during these times and to allow them to grow their business. Businesses I have been hearing from also understand that we have been investing in critical infrastructure, including rail, road and port projects, clean energy projects and the National Broadband Network—all essential infrastructure supporting jobs now to build future prosperity. The investment in these projects is critical to the future health of local manufacturing businesses in south-east Melbourne. It allows them to get inputs to the factories in the most cost-effective, timely and efficient manner, it allows them to get product to market and it allows them to make greater use of information technologies.

Given that around 20 per cent of Victoria’s manufacturing base is in the Dandenong region, it was fitting that the first of the federal government’s Keep Australia Working forums was held at the Drum Theatre in Dandenong last month. Trucking industry leader Lindsay Fox and former ACTU secretary Bill Kelty joined the Minister for Employment Participation, Senator Arbib, and the member for Blaxland, in his new role as Parliamentary Secretary for Employment, in hosting the forum. The event brought together business, community and education leaders with representatives from local job network agencies around south-east Melbourne to discuss how together they could match suitable workers to suitable jobs

It is great to see that a working group has come out of that forum. The working group will be led by local jobs coordinator Keith Pimblett, whose job it is to detail and deliver the plan and be a conduit between business, government and job agencies to keep employment and productivity up in the south-east Melbourne region. The government has already taken real practical steps to support jobs through local government infrastructure projects in our area. Those projects include the rebuilding of the Noble Park pool and the reconstruction of Tatterson Park, both of which are Greater Dandenong City Council projects; the Kingston Heath soccer facility in the city of Kingston, a project where the first sod is going to be turned next week; and the Ballam Park works in the city of Frankston.

Small and medium sized enterprises, particularly those who work in manufacturing and construction, understand that their best friend at this difficult economic time is not the opposition parties, who would prefer to run an irresponsible scare campaign on debt rather than support the early and decisive action that has been taken by this government, but the Rudd Labor government, which is proud of doing what is required to help support businesses and jobs through this global economic recession. It is the Rudd government which has acted early and decisively to stabilise the financial system. It is the Rudd government which is investing in critical infrastructure. All of the businesses that I talk to in my electorate are saying to me, loudly and clearly, that they understand the supportive role that the government has played. They understand why it is that investment in infrastructure is directly supporting jobs at a time when we would otherwise be in great difficulty.