2018 State Election Priorities

Stronger Business Stronger Victoria

GROW BUSINESS TO GROW JOBS, INVESTMENT AND TRADE

Victoria has performed well over the past decade. The next State Government of Victoria must continue this momentum into the next decade.

The Victorian Chamber’s 2018 election platform sets out 10 priorities for Victoria to keep business competitive and keep Victoria growing.

The Victorian Chamber’s 2018 State Election Priorities

1. Commit to deliver key road and rail transport infrastructure projects to improve travel for business and all Victorians

What the next S​tate Government must do

  • Build the North East and East West Links.
  • Progress the Melbourne Airport rail link.
  • Commit to a scoping study for Ballarat and Geelong fast rail links with Melbourne.
  • Finalise a site for Melbourne’s third airport.
  • Commence planning for Melbourne Metro 2.

2. Increase the payroll tax threshold to $850,000 and improve the operating environment for business

What the next ​State Government must do

  • Increase the payroll tax threshold to $850,000 from 1 July 2019.
  • Retain the lower payroll tax rate of 3.65 per cent available to eligible regional employers.
  • Reintroduce payroll tax exemptions for eligible new apprentices and trainees, as currently exists in NSW, QLD, WA4 and Tasmania.
  • Establish a series of Enterprise Zone’s across regional and metro Victoria, offering tax concessions, infrastructure incentives and reduced regulations to attract investment and grow jobs.
  • Repeal the Grand Final eve public holiday and the Easter Sunday public holiday.
  • Set an ambitious target for red tape reduction and publically report on progress. Priority must be given to reducing the number of regulators and number of licenses, registrations, permits and approvals impacting on business.
  • Strengthen the Regulatory Impact Statement process and improve the way regulators interact with business and implement regulation.

3. Increase apprenticeships and traineeships through a public campaign to promote their value

What the next State Government must do

  • Launch a public awareness campaign to promote the long term value of apprenticeships and traineeships and work with business to help employers attract, recruit and retain apprentices and trainees.
  • Introduce and resource a new careers advice model that highlights the benefits of vocational education pathways as well as university pathways to employment.
  • Address barriers to apprenticeship completion and provide more support to apprentices that drop out of training to help them either complete their training with another employer or transition into new training.
  • Address barriers to the uptake of apprenticeships and traineeships by SMEs. Strengthen recognition of employers who have demonstrated long term support to employing apprentices.
  • Establish a new $40 million ‘Foundation Industries Training Fund’ that provides eligible employers with up to $4,000 to support accredited and non-accredited training for existing and new employees.
  • Address skills requirements and retraining associated with business transformation and structural change.

4. Strengthen Victoria’s Industry Participation Policy to maximise local content in Victorian projects and expenditure

  • What the next State Government must do
  • Require all Government expenditure to prioritise local content and introduce a stronger requirement for government departments and agencies to award government contracts to SMEs and regional based companies when tendering.
  • Monitor progress in maximising local content in Victorian projects by requiring an annual report to be tabled in Parliament detailing how departments and agencies targeted Victorian businesses and what proportion  of spending has been fulfilled in Victoria.
  • Require major project contractors to demonstrate how they will prioritise Victorian suppliers, including through sub-contracting arrangements.
  • Amend current Victorian Industry Participation Policy (VIPP) to require government departments and agencies to consider competitive local suppliers, including SMEs, when awarding contracts valued at:
    • $500,000 or more in regional Victoria (compared to the current threshold of $1 million or more), or
    • $1 million or more in metropolitan Melbourne or for state-wide activities (compared to the current threshold of $3 million or more).
  • Provide $5 million to deliver a ‘Procurement Access’ program to help small businesses understand how to access government procurement opportunities, how to pre-qualify how to form joint ventures and facilitate introductions to key procurement officers within government agencies and lead contractors.

5. Grow Victorian exports and supply chains

What the next State Government must do

  • Provide $25 million to deliver an ‘Export Ready’ program for all businesses participating in a government funded trade mission.
  • Expand the program of targeted inbound and outbound trade missions with key markets and strengthen pre and post-mission support for participants to build longer term, trusted business relationships.
  • Provide $25 million to pilot an industry led ‘Supply Chain Development’ program that encourages large companies to work with small and medium sized businesses within their supply chain, assisting them to build new networks and business opportunities, particularly in export markets.
  • Provide targeted support to help small and medium sized enterprises leverage the benefits of existing and emerging clusters. This could include the development of specific local industry participation plans, improved access to finance and business training support.
  • Implement an online learning program to support Victorian tourism and events businesses grow exports to Asian markets.
  • Accelerate the Service Victoria project to create a whole-of-government, one-stop shop that provides business with easier access to government services, faster service and a single point of contact.

6. Lift the moratorium on onshore conventional gas exploration to help reduce energy costs

What the next State Government must do

  • Lift the moratorium on onshore conventional gas exploration.
  • Work with the Federal Government to ensure Australian gas fields can provide enough affordable gas for domestic industry and households.
  • Establish a $20 million Energy Market Transition Fund to help medium sized businesses lower energy bills and improve productivity (e.g. energy audits, equipment upgrades, process improvements).
  • Work with industry associations to create a single source of advice, or gateway, for business to access government energy assistance which is currently spread across multiple departments and agencies.
  • Work with the Commonwealth to implement a national emissions reduction mechanism to encourage investment in new generation and reduce energy prices.

7. Accelerate regional opportunities

What the next State Government must do

  • Commit to and implement the infrastructure and key project priorities for regional business identified in Stronger Business Stronger Victoria – Regional Priorities.
  • Commit to a scoping study for Ballarat and Geelong fast rail links with Melbourne.
  • Fund stage 2 of the Shipwreck Coast Masterplan.
  • Upgrade strategically significant roads, intersections and bridges used by important regional industries like agribusiness in getting their goods to market.
  • Provide a 25 per cent discount on stamp duty applying to commercial and industrial properties located in regional Victoria. Saving regional businesses around $20 million per annum, this will encourage businesses to set up or relocate in regional areas.
  • Amend current Victorian Industry Participation Policy (VIPP) to require government departments and agencies to consider competitive local suppliers, including SMEs, when awarding contracts valued at $500,000 or more in regional Victoria (compared to the current threshold of $1 million or more).
  • Further decentralise key state government departments or agencies to regional locations and implement a 5-10 year reform timetable.
  • Review and significantly reduce the number of licences, registrations, certifications, permits and approvals impacting on regional business.
  • Fund a dedicated communication campaign to attract young talent and improve the image of apprenticeships in priority regional industries.

8. Provide $200 million to advance Victoria’s high value, globally competitive industries

What the next State Government must do

  • Establish a series of ‘Global Best Practice’ seminars to share and build best practice innovation, research, processes and practices within high growth sectors. Delivered by the private sector, the seminars will highlight the experiences of businesses who have overcome barriers to growth and are excelling domestically and internationally.
  • Establish a $200 million fund to provide targeted support to advance key industries which have strong growth potential including agribusiness, advanced manufacturing, ICT, defence, construction, medical technology and professional services.
  • Boost the commercialisation of research in high growth sectors by providing grants of up to $50,000 per eligible business to partner with a Victorian university to undertake a project to innovate, diversify, improve productivity or take new products to market.
  • Facilitate the development of emerging clusters and business precincts.
  • This includes support for Fishermans Bend to continue to evolve into Melbourne’s pre-eminent high technology industrial precinct. In regional Victoria, Geelong is progressing an education, health, insurance and advanced manufacturing hub.

9. Provide a safe and secure business environment 

What the next State Government must do

  • Continue the current program of police recruitment and training to ensure a visible police presence in business areas.
  • Fund Victoria Police to increase the focus on crime prevention and community policing through business partnerships, helping police to better understand business concerns, target crime prevention activities and reduce the likelihood of offending.
  • Increase public transport safety by extending Victoria Police Protective Services Officers operating times in high risk areas.
  • Continue to install and monitor CCTV cameras in high risk locations.
  • Provide training and support for businesses to help them manage and improve staff and customer safety from crime on their business premises.

10. Develop new commercial, recreational and tourism uses for Port Phillip Bay and its environs

What the next State Government must do

  • Develop a ‘Bay Plan 2050’ to examine opportunities to develop new shared commercial, residential, recreational, event and tourism uses for Port Phillip Bay and its environs while preserving its environmental values, ecology and biodiversity.
  • Continue to invest in sustaining and improving the environmental health of the bay.
  • Remove unnecessary, complex or duplicative planning or regulatory barriers to bay use and development.

Download the Victorian Chamber's 2018 State Election Priorities

The Victorian Chamber's 2018 State Election Priorities

The Victorian Chamber's 2018 State Election Regional Priorities

For further information: policy@victorianchamber.com.au or telephone: 03 8662 5206