It is a pleasure to rise to speak on this important matter of public importance. I will take a moment to pick up on some of the things said by the previous speaker, the member for Bundoora. It is sad to see a government inventing fallacies and it is even sadder to see backbenchers quoting them as fact. That is what we have heard today — a range of fallacies being quoted as absolute fact. The member for Bundoora started with a lot of conviction but he petered out a little at the end. It was a good start but it needed a bit in the finish.
The member for Bundoora also raised the issue of debt. I have previously heard the same member going on about how the coalition took over government and then doubled the debt. Anyone who knows anything about politics and finance knows that debt runs out over the four-year forward estimates period, and there is very little that an incoming government can do about debt that has been set in place by the previous government. In fact the coalition brought debt down in real terms over that period of time. I would encourage the member for Bundoora to look at the figures before he speaks about debt again, because all he really does is show that he does not know how to read budget papers and he does not understand how policies work.
On the matter of public importance, a range of things have happened but it is important to listen to what people say and then compare it with what they do. One interesting thing is to look at what the New South Wales government said prior to the last election, what the Victorian government said prior to the last election and then look at what has happened since then. New South Wales Premier Mike Baird put the premiers of Queensland and Victoria on notice. He said:
I am putting the premiers of Queensland and Victoria on notice — we are coming for your events, we are coming for your businesses and we are coming for your jobs.
What did the Victorian Premier say? He said, 'I've got a plan. I'm going to increase employment. I'm going to put on 100 000 full-time jobs over two years'. He relied on his Back to Work plan for doing that, and we know what sort of effect that has had. We know the government is now in breach of its own legislation. It has not done the reporting on it that it legislated to say it would do.
It is also worth looking at the facts. New South Wales said it would create jobs and Victoria said it would create jobs, but what has happened? Since the New South Wales state election New South Wales has created 66 300 jobs and Queensland has created over 29 000 jobs — and that is saying something. Over the same period Victoria lost 7800 full-time jobs. The government that said it had a plan and was critical of the previous government for not having a plan, which in fact created 131 000 new jobs, has gone backwards. It has done absolutely nothing. In fact it has left 7800 families without jobs. It has left 7800 families unable to spend money in our businesses. When no-one is spending money in businesses, businesses cannot employ people, and then we wonder why we are not getting new jobs in this state. The reason we are not getting new jobs in this state is that this government does not know how to run the state and create jobs. Even the 7800 full-time jobs is calculated on a basis of an 0.8 per cent lower participation rate, so saying that we have lost 7800 jobs is being kind to this government. We would always want to be kind to this government because it needs all the help that it can get.
In the period that Premier Andrews lost 7800 jobs, he really should have created 37 500 jobs if he were to maintain his promise. Over the next 15 months he has to create more than 107 000 jobs. I do not know about the rest of the members of this house, but I do not think he can do it. If we look at the policies he has got in place, there is certainly no way he would be able to do it because he is not genuine about his attempts. If he were as genuine about creating new jobs for Victorians as he was about running his red shirt brigade and making sure that the Labor Party did not pay for the campaign, we would probably have more jobs in this state. The Premier certainly worked hard at that and was able to get the public to pay for it. A lot of hard work went into that, but it was only about furthering the Labor Party's nest, not about doing anything for Victorians.
Anywhere you look in Victoria you will see things have gone backwards under this government. In regional Victoria 14 400 full-time jobs have been lost. I wonder whether government backbenchers were aware of that. Are they happy with that? It is a despicable situation.
I hear members on the government side laughing about that. I do not think losing 14 400 jobs in regional Victoria is funny at all, but those on the government side obviously do.
We went from having 440 900 jobs in regional Victoria in December 2014 to 426 500 jobs in June 2015, which means that 14 400 families have either reduced or no incomes. The opposition encouraged the government to get on board with the policy of moving VicRoads to Ballarat, but again the Premier was disingenuous. He said that there had not been any work done on that, but documents were leaked by some of the government's own people which showed that a lot of work had been done and that the policy was able to be implemented almost immediately. However, the government found every reason not to. It has done no work on that.
Youth unemployment has gone from 14.6 per cent in December to 15 per cent. That has also increased dramatically: 2300 more youths are unemployed; 7900 fewer youths are in full-time employment. Is this bad policy? Is it bad advice? Or is the whole thing just another Labor lie? I think it is probably the latter, and most people would agree with that.
The budget was a complete failure. If you look at the way the government went about it, you see that it had no detailed economic plan and did not really have a plan for creating jobs. In fact in regard to the plan it put together, it has shown the respect it has for its own plan today by not even complying with its own legislation. I cannot understand why anybody would take it seriously if the government itself does not take it seriously.
This is the same old Labor, the same old tricks and the same old mess. Unemployment will be higher under Labor, economic growth is lower under Labor, the cost of living pressures are up, infrastructure spending is down $64 billion over a four-year period, state taxes are up more than $1.1 billion and $4 billion has been lost from the surplus. Labor was given a gift by the previous government, just as Labor always gets gifts from coalition governments. Labor comes in, the situation is good, it has a surplus, it is all ready to launch, and what does Labor do? Absolutely nothing. It does not produce anything for the state.
Mernda rail is not done, not funded; the Drysdale bypass, Thompsons Road, Yan Yean — unfunded; no police for the Somerville police station, and no police for anywhere in Victoria. Really all that Labor is doing is just marking time. In fact it is going backwards, because if you look at some of the smaller type in the budget, you find an amount that is closer to $1 billion, with at least $640 million connected to the 3700 jobs that were just torn up by this government in relation to the east–west link.
On small business, if the government understood that small business is in fact the engine room of our economy, it might be able to move forward instead of mercilessly attacking it. The growth, sustainability and productivity of our state is reliant on small business. Out of 540 000 businesses 90 per cent have fewer than 5 employees and 97 per cent have fewer than 20 employees. Almost half of the non-government jobs in the state are in small business, and 30 per cent are located in rural and regional Victoria. What has the government done about small business? Absolutely nothing other than imposing on it two brand-new public holidays that are doing and have done enormous damage.
Instead of strengthening, reinforcing and diversifying as other states in the nation have done, this government has tried to pull small business down for its own benefit. Unfortunately that means that what we would normally rely on as the engine room to create jobs is unable to do so. Not only is the government not increasing jobs, but it is putting in place a plan under the port of Melbourne lease that will put literally tens of thousands of jobs across this state at great risk. That is something this whole house should be extremely worried about, and I encourage the backbench of the government to have another look at what the government has planned there.