State and federal governments need to put their weight behind local manufacturers and employers, Shadow Minister for Higher Education, Research, Innovation and Industry Senator Kim Carr and Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters MP said today.
Visiting businesses in central Victoria with Labor candidate for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas, Senator Carr and Ms Chesters said it was important that government improved collaboration with business and encouraged innovation, rather than taking a hands-off, she’ll-be-right approach.
"As highlighted by the Business Council of Australia yesterday, government has a key role to play in business growth, including through leadership on innovation policy and by facilitating economic development," Senator Carr said.
"However, at a federal level, the Abbott Government has destroyed the 10-year innovation strategy and is seeking to cut more than $7 billion from higher education, science, research and industry innovation programs."
Federal Member for Bendigo Lisa Chesters said, "There is also concern about the Abbott Government’s commitment to the NBN, which is critical for businesses and manufacturers in regional areas."
Labor candidate for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas said she was pleased, along with Ms Chesters, to introduce Senator Carr to two of Macedon's largest employers, Hardwicks and Barker Trailers.
"Across the Macedon Ranges we have successful businesses creating employment opportunities in regional Victoria and making a real contribution to economic growth in our region," Ms Thomas said.
"Employers are looking to federal and state governments for investment in transport and telecommunications infrastructure and skills development.
"However, the Victorian Government has walked away from investing in TAFE and from programs designed to engage young people in employment and training, leaving employers without the skills they need and young people facing long-term unemployment.
"The report says enrolments for 15- to 19-year-olds and young apprentices have plummeted at a time of record youth unemployment.
"These firms and Federation University in Ballarat in central Victoria all require government to be responsive to their particular circumstances rather than benign neglect or a one-size-fits-all approach.
"Victoria’s forthcoming state election will be an opportunity for people concerned about government support for local industries and jobs to make their concerns known."