Ms TIERNEY (Western Victoria) — My question is to the Minister for Planning, Justin Madden. Can the minister update the house on how the Brumby Labor government is supporting regional Victoria through the creation of jobs and better retail choice?
Hon. J. M. MADDEN (Minister for Planning) — I welcome Ms Tierney’s interest in this matter because I know she has been particularly active in her local community in trying to guarantee and generate more jobs and economic growth in her region.
We are committed to rolling out key projects not only across metropolitan Melbourne but also across our regional centres.
I have approved planning permits recently for the development of two supermarkets in Cowes and for the expansion and redevelopment of Warrnambool’s Gateway Plaza shopping centre. These approvals are significant not only in terms of the retail offering and competition but also in particular for job creation in those communities.
The approval for Cowes provides for a 4175-square-metre Woolworths supermarket project and a Morgan and Griffin development, which includes the construction of a 2330-square-metre supermarket and specialty shops. These two projects in Cowes alone will provide a more than $36 million boost to the local economy and create up to 440 jobs during construction and development. More importantly they will create 200 ongoing jobs in the local community.
The planning approval for Gateway Plaza provides for the extension of the shopping centre to the north and north-east, including a supermarket of approximately 3350 square metres and new specialty stores, including mini majors. I was not exactly sure what a mini major was. I was informed it is not Mr Guy, it is not Mr David Davis and it is not Mr Dalla-Riva; it is in fact apparently a smaller shop rather than one of the larger majors. There will be a total of 8560 square metres of additional floor space, and it will provide something of the order of a $50 million boost to the local economy and create something of the order of 400 jobs during construction and development. More importantly it will create 260 ongoing direct and indirect jobs in the local community.
I will say that again because I know my colleague the Treasurer is always enthusiastic about jobs, particularly ongoing jobs that come out of the construction field.
We can look forward to 260 ongoing direct and indirect jobs in the Warrnambool community because of this project.
All three projects were called in from the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal because they were being delayed. They were referred to independent advisory committees, which heard from the respective interested parties. The independent advisory committees assessed the proposals, considering issues such as appropriate land use for sites, retail floor space, design and access, car parking, vegetation, landscaping and respective heritage significance. On reviewing the recommendations of the advisory committees I determined that each project should be granted a planning permit subject to conditions. The Governor in Council has accepted my recommendations, and I understand the construction of these three developments is due to commence in early 2011.
We as a government have a track record of supporting investment in our regions.
Our regional blueprint will assist and drive a new era of opportunity in investment and prosperity in regional Victoria. Victorian families are a key priority of our government. It highlights our commitment to supporting the creation of jobs and better retail choice and competition as well as industry confidence in our community, which goes to show — and is another reason to say — that Victoria is and will remain the best place to live, work and raise a family.