My adjournment matter this evening is for the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, Richard Dalla-Riva, and it is in relation to recent Australian Bureau of Statistics job and unemployment statistics for rural and regional Victoria. I think everyone would agree that the August and September job figures represented a bad set of numbers. Members do not have to look hard in their local media to find stories of job losses and rising unemployment under this government.
For regional Victoria the months of August and September were particularly bad. In the month of August alone 12 400 jobs were lost, with a third of these job losses being full-time jobs. Of the 12 400 jobs lost in August, 83 per cent — that is right, 83 per cent — were in my electorate alone. The Geelong and Barwon-south western regions lost more than 10 000 jobs in one month.
To say this is an alarming figure would be a gross understatement, but the September figures continue to paint a dim picture. In September the unemployment rate was 7.1 per cent for the Barwon-south western region, up from 5.5 per cent during August and more than double what it was in the same month a year ago.
Many people living in the Barwon-south western region may not be surprised by these figures. There have been a number of stories reported in our local papers. These have included coverage of the 130 jobs lost at the Fonterra dairy factory in Cororooke. Jobs have also been lost from Brace at Ballarat and Geelong, and there have been continuing redundancies at Ford Geelong. Yet this government has still seen fit to continue with its cuts to the Department of Primary Industries and places like the Marine and Freshwater Discovery Centre in Queenscliff. Teaching and support staff at TAFEs have lost their jobs, including at the Gordon and South West TAFE, and jobs have been lost from the public service right across the electorate.
A Geelong Advertiser editorial recently described the government’s decision on wooden railway sleepers being bought from New South Wales as a ‘ridiculous, blindingly short-sighted decision’.
The action I seek from the minister is for him to provide me with a precise breakdown on the location at which jobs are being shed, the names of the companies and types of industries shedding jobs, the number of part-time and full-time jobs lost and a gender and age group breakdown of jobs lost and an explanation from the minister as to why this government has not put in place concrete measures to prevent this disaster.