ADJOURNMENT DEBATE ON REGIONAL VICTORIA MINING EMPLOYMENT

My adjournment matter is for the Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade, and concerns the reckless implementation of the gold tax which will harm employment in regional Victoria.

The mining industry supports more than 88 000 jobs in Victoria and plays an important role in the economies of regional communities. Thousands are employed in the manufacturing of engineering equipment and technology used in mining, and the multiplier effect is significant. The Ballarat goldmine spends about $55 million each year and employs over 200 people. These workers spend their income in the cafes, shops and countless other small businesses across Ballarat that employ people.

Rather than supporting this industry, the government sees this high-risk business as a convenient milking cow to further prop up its fake surplus. Certainly for the first time in Victoria’s history it is implementing a gold tax. There is no better testament to this government’s complete arrogance for people living beyond the tram tracks of Melbourne than this new tax. The gold tax will hurt the Victorian mining industry’s ability to stay competitive, let alone grow and increase employment opportunities. The Premier bragged last month that unemployment in Victorian regions was at an all-time low. Does this government seriously believe that this gold tax will not compromise this? The Minister for Jobs, Innovation and Trade said: “We’re investing in communities to ensure regional Victorians have the skills and technology they need to continue to grow and provide the conditions for sustainable employment.”

This gold tax demonstrates quite the contrary. It appears that this government is investing in inner-city communities off the backs of regional communities and failing to provide the conditions for sustainable employment outside the tram tracks. By implementing a gold tax for the first time in Victoria’s history this government will hurt the employment and investment opportunities of Victoria’s miners. The action I seek from the minister is to assure regional communities that no jobs will be lost due to this new tax on gold.

18 June 2019