A couple of weeks ago the Warrnambool Standard ran a front-page story under the headline, ‘Wanted: 1000 workers’. The story outlined the need for jobs to be filled in my region across a whole range of fields in both blue and white-collar jobs. This is an extraordinary position to be in — unemployment in my region is a low 3.5 per cent. While other areas of the state are struggling to find jobs for people, in my electorate we are struggling to find people for jobs.
I note comments from a member in the other place last week referring to this article recorded in Hansard, saying not to ‘always believe everything you read’. I suggest that member get out and talk to businesses in his region, because over several months I have heard the same story everywhere I go — businesses are continually telling me, ‘We can’t get workers’. I have spoken with nursing home managers who need registered nurses, and farmers who need people to milk their cows or shear their sheep. I have also spoken with plumbers, builders and bricklayers who have positions to be filled, and I have even heard from car dealers who cannot get mechanics or salespeople to work in their dealerships.
We are at crisis level, and something needs to be done right now to ensure businesses in my region have workers available and to ensure businesses can grow and be profitable, which is good for local economies and good for everyone. Regional Development Victoria need to be incentivising people to relocate to regional areas to take on these jobs. It should not be a hard sell. Regional Victoria has so much to offer — where else could you be at the beach within five minutes after knocking off work? As for traffic — what traffic? Congestion is not an issue in our towns, and the commute for someone living in Warrnambool is 10 minutes at best.