House of Representatives Speech- Isaacs Electorate: Employment 2010

Last month the Dandenong Jobs Expo was held at the new general merchandise hall of the recently renovated Dandenong Market. It was the first time that the market had been used for a non-market use, and I thank the City of Greater Dandenong Council for making it available. It is an unfortunate fact that, in times of financial uncertainty, unemployment in areas like Dandenong goes up to a higher level than the national average.

Last month the Dandenong Jobs Expo was held at the new general merchandise hall of the recently renovated Dandenong Market. It was the first time that the market had been used for a non-market use, and I thank the City of Greater Dandenong Council for making it available. It is an unfortunate fact that, in times of financial uncertainty, unemployment in areas like Dandenong goes up to a higher level than the national average.

The Dandenong area—and, in particular, suburbs like Dandenong South, Braeside and Carrum Downs—provides a significant chunk of Victoria’s and the country’s manufacturing output. So, when times are tough, manufacturing, retail and hospitality jobs in this area are often the first to go. That is why Centrelink hosted the Dandenong Jobs Expo on 15 April, when more than 120 local businesses and organisations from Melbourne’s south-east gathered to employ more than 800 people. It was the 10th jobs expo held nationally and the most successful in both turnout and jobs created.

It was great to have the Parliamentary Secretary for Employment, Jason Clare, and the Mayor of the City of Greater Dandenong, Councillor Jim Memeti, there with me to see just how enthusiastic the Dandenong region is to provide employment. Major local companies like Jayco, Myer and Ventura Bus Lines were there offering employment, and I must recognise the hard work of the local jobs coordinator, Keith Pimblett, for his role in attracting local businesses to the expo.

While the opposition are out there with hollow talk about taking action, this government is serious about actually doing something to get Australians back into work. Representing an area that has higher than average unemployment, I am proud that the Rudd government has been decisive and unapologetic in its priorities since the global financial crisis hit in late 2008: protect Australian jobs and keep unemployment down as low as possible. This government took early and decisive action to promote spending in retail and hospitality with the one-off cash payment bonus payments in December 2008 and early 2009, which helped keep employment up and going in these vulnerable sectors.

Then we announced and have implemented the Nation Building and Jobs Plan, which has brought important community infrastructure like the complete redevelopment of the Noble Park pool and the construction of the Kingston Heath regional soccer facility, both of which are boons to their respective local communities and for local jobs. Every school in my electorate has received extra maintenance funding under the National School Pride program, and every primary school has new classrooms, a new library or a new hall. I have visited many of the schools in my electorate to see how construction is going, and the principals and parents are excited. Many of the workers have told me that if it were not for this funding program they would not have a job. The opposition leader wants to take away the projects promised to local schools under the third round of the Building the Education Revolution program and the jobs that go with it. As I have previously done in this place, I invite the opposition leader to my electorate to tell the principals, parents and teachers at schools like Noble Park Primary School, Wallarano Primary School, Parktone Primary School and the Chelsea Primary School exactly why, if elected, he would try and take away their important infrastructure projects. There is a stark difference between the Rudd government and the coalition on this issue. We are for jobs and those opposite are not.