MEMBERS STATEMENT | THE VICTORIAN ECONOMY

Mr Melhem (Western Metropolitan): I note that yet again Victoria is the strongest performing economy in the country. In the latest CommSec State of the States report, Victoria boasts Australia strongest jobs market, economic growth, wages growth, retail trade and construction work. But the most revealing statistic is that construction work across Victoria is an incredible 33.1 per cent above the decade average and by far the strongest in the country. This is because the Andrews Labor government have more than doubled infrastructure investment to an average of $10.6 billion over the four years to 2021–22, compared with the long-term average. We have done this by delivering 1300 school upgrades, and we plan to open 100 new schools over the next eight years; removing 29 level crossings in our first term of government and committing to remove 75 by 2025; getting on with transport projects such as the Metro Tunnel and the Suburban Rail Loop, including the Melbourne Airport Link; and kicking off desperately needed road projects like the West Gate Tunnel and the north-east link. But sadly, this decade average measure also includes four years of the Victorian Liberal government, where there was basically no new infrastructure investment. In 2014 the Andrews Labor government inherited a stagnant economy, with unemployment at 6.7 per cent compared to 4.6 per cent now. I am proud to be part of what the Andrews Labor government has achieved for this state’s economy, and I have no doubt we will continue to see strong economic figures into the future.