With many Victorian businesses having recently been hit by soaring gas prices and increasing uncertainty around energy pricing and supply, we were deeply disappointed by the recent passing of a bill that extended the moratorium on onshore conventional gas exploration until 2020. As we move away from coal-fired energy generation, gas will only become more important.
There are proven technologies that do not involve fracking, which is now banned in Victoria — technologies which we think should at least be investigated. We have been calling for a regulatory regime which manages the risks of gas supply projects on a case-by-case basis. It is essential that the Government has a comprehensive plan to ensure that businesses have access to secure and affordable energy. This is something we will continue to advocate for.
As the State Budget approaches, we continue to be proactive in our efforts to ensure our recommendations are heard. This week, we were again highlighted in the media for one of these key recommendations – to make agribusiness the next priority in the Government’s small business regulation review.
The February labour force statistics were released this week. While the trend for Victoria is still stable, concerningly, the state’s unemployment rate jumped to 6.1%, the highest it has been since November 2015.
In the lead up to the Victorian Budget on 2 May, we will continue to strongly advocate on behalf of industry for our key priority areas, to ensure pro-business policies are introduced that underpin future economic, investment and job creation.
Mark Stone AM
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