My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Regional and Rural Development in the other place, Jacinta Allan. Last week the minister announced a grant of $300 000 from the Brumby government to upgrade the electricity supply in the Heywood industrial corridor. The project will create the capacity for the upgrade of major infrastructure in the region, subject to the provision of a secure and reliable electricity supply.
The grant awarded to the Glenelg Shire Council is a part of the Regional Infrastructure Development Fund, which has been very successful in delivering much-needed infrastructure projects across Victoria. This grant is a portion of the $363.8 million provided by the Brumby government through the Regional Infrastructure Development Fund to support 148 projects worth just under $1 billion.
This has been particularly important in developing rural and regional Victoria after the painful and protracted tenure of the Kennett government — the forgotten years for regional and rural development.
During the Bracks-Brumby era 128 500 new regional jobs have been created, while during the Kennett era only 41 100 new regional jobs were created. Under the Kennett government regional Victorian unemployment rates peaked at 12.8 per cent, while under the Bracks and Brumby governments that figure has been more than halved to 6.3 per cent. It is programs such as the Regional Infrastructure Development Fund and projects such as the upgrade of electricity supply in the Heywood industrial corridor that will result in those figures going down yet again.
The minister stated that this power upgrade could result in the creation of up to 30 jobs as well as facilitating up to 400 new jobs in the harvesting and haulage sector. Therefore I ask the minister whether she is anticipating an influx in the local population in Heywood due to the power industry upgrade and the subsequent increase in employment opportunities in the region. I would also ask the minister to provide me with information on the time line for the completion of that upgrade.