Leader of the Liberal Party
Leader of the Opposition

Portfolio Speeches

Employment: government performance

Mr PALLAS (Tarneit) -- My question is to the Treasurer. How can this government be trusted on jobs when there are an extra 34 000 people unemployed on his watch and when today's figures show that Victoria has the highest unemployment rate in mainland Australia?

Mr O'BRIEN (Treasurer) -- I thank the member for Tarneit for his maiden question as shadow Treasurer -- it has taken a while. I am delighted that he has asked me about jobs, because the labour force figures for April 2013 show that the Victorian economy created 8100 jobs in the last month. Job creation was up and the employment participation rate was up, so there were more Victorians in jobs and more Victorians having the confidence to enter the job market. We welcome more Victorians being in jobs. I make the point that there has been an increase of 53 400 jobs since the coalition came to office.


In addition to those 53 400 jobs, the budget I brought down this week forecast growing employment and falling unemployment in the economy and contained a record $6.1 billion infrastructure program. The coalition government is committed to jobs, it is committed to growing the economy and it is committed to projects like the east-west link, a project that would create 3200 jobs. But we do not hear support from members on the other side of the chamber. Do they support a major nation-building project that would create 3200 jobs? All we hear is their carping. Obviously they are waiting for the Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union to tell them what to think; they have no original thoughts. We will continue growing the economy -- --

Ms Allan -- On a point of order, Speaker, Rulings from the Chair, at page 163, has a section headed 'Attacks on opposition inappropriate'. That is exactly what the Treasurer is doing. We are concerned about people who have lost their jobs on this Treasurer's watch, and we ask him to answer that question.


Ms Asher -- On the point of order, Speaker, in Rulings from the Chair it is made amply clear that whilst it is the right every member to raise a point of order, the member may not use the occasion to make a speech, as the member just did in the latter part of her so-called point of order. I ask you to rule her point of order out of order.

Mr Merlino -- On the point of order, Speaker, the Treasurer is clearly in breach of standing orders. He may be chirpy about the fact we have the highest unemployment rate in mainland Australia, but he should be -- --

The SPEAKER -- Order! A point of order is not a chance for the member for Monbulk to get up and make a make a speech either. He should know that; I have dumped him a few times for that reason. I uphold the point of order and ask that the Treasurer not be critical of the opposition.


Mr O'BRIEN -- I return to the point that the

east-west link project is a significant job creator for this state. It is a major infrastructure program, and we need it. It adds 3200 jobs. Speaker, certainly I accept your ruling, and I will not criticise the Labor Party. I will refer to a different commentator, who said:

  • this project should go ahead ... the state government need to commit to something big ... They need to commit some serious money into it. They need to work hard with the federal government, and let's get on with it because we can't afford to wait.

This was Cesar Melhem, a member for Western Metropolitan Region in the other place. Hail Cesar!

Mr Pallas -- On a point of order, Speaker, clearly the minister is reading from his possible parliamentary question. Given that he read it yesterday, perhaps he would share it with us by tabling it today.


The SPEAKER -- Order! The Treasurer has a document there. I ask him to table it.

Mr O'BRIEN -- On the point of order, Speaker, I am delighted to table it. Let's get it on the record and let everyone see it.

The SPEAKER -- Order! The Treasurer can complete his answer.

Mr O'BRIEN -- In addition to the east-west link, we have the biggest health construction program in Victoria's history. It includes the new Monash Children's hospital, the rebuild of the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital, Box Hill Hospital, the Victorian Comprehensive Cancer Centre, the new Waurn Ponds community hospital and Bendigo Hospital. This is a $630 million commitment to health in northern and central Victoria delivered by a coalition government.


These are great projects to protect the health of Victorians and great projects for the employment prospects of Victorians. We will grow the economy; we will make sure more Victorians have jobs. We are committed to major infrastructure projects, and we need some support from those people on the other side, to get behind projects like the east-west link. They should take the advice of Cesar Melhem: get on board, get these projects built and get more Victorians in jobs.

Contact Michael
Michael O'Brien MP

313 Waverley Road

Phone: (03) 9576 1850
Fax: (03) 9576 1849

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