MORWELL ELECTORATE PROJECTS
Mr NORTHE (Morwell) (19:08): (789) My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade. The action I seek is for the minister to meet with local business owners, investors and developers who have approved projects within the Morwell electorate and for the minister to hear firsthand of their ongoing frustrations and concerns given these same projects continue to be delayed. The minister would then become very acutely aware of the significant number of job opportunities that are being lost in my electorate.
High unemployment in my electorate sits over here on one hand, yet on the other hand we have approved projects that sit idle, and it is very frustrating and disappointing. From that point of view, projects such as the Lake Narracan precinct plan is one such project which was endorsed by council way back in December 2015. It would encompass more than 3000 housing lots, but it currently sits idle. Again, it is just very frustrating from not only the developer’s perspective but also from the community’s. We have the Morwell North West development plan, which was actually endorsed by council way back in 2010—another example of land that sits idle due to offsite infrastructure barriers such as water, sewerage and roads. Of course many of those same services the government’s own departments and agencies are responsible for.
I have raised this issue before, back in question time in August of last year, and the former Minister for Industry and Employment responded at the time on this same issue, saying, ‘We will do everything we can to support the region’. Way back in 2016 the Premier stated that the government would ensure that projects in the Latrobe Valley would be ‘fast-tracked’. Well, that is simply not the case; it is not occurring. We had a red tape commissioner’s report that was on the topic of reducing red tape and regulatory barriers to growth in the Latrobe Valley; we have had Mesh Planning do reports into infrastructure barriers.
Despite all of this, there has been absolutely no progression at all on these already approved projects.
The Queensland government have an initiative called the Catalyst Infrastructure Program that invests in infrastructure which unlocks development, generates construction activity and creates long-term employment, but there is no such equivalent here in Victoria. I put out a policy suggestion prior to the election called the Latrobe essential services fund that would allow agencies and departments, like VicRoads and Gippsland Water, to attract funding to build this off-site infrastructure. I call upon the minister to meet with our local developers and business owners.