Chief Executive Update 5 May 2022

The Victorian Budget was announced this week, and I'm sure you will have different views of what it means for you.

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It was reassuring yesterday to hear Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas praise Victorian businesses for the resilience you have demonstrated throughout the pandemic and his optimism as we continue to embark on our economic recovery.

The Treasurer was addressing 280 guests at the Victorian Chamber and Melbourne Press Club’s annual State Budget lunch at the Park Hyatt, a day after he handed down the 2022-23 Victorian Budget. You may have seen coverage of the event on last night’s Channel 7 or Channel 10 news or in today’s Herald Sun and AFR. As the State’s most influential business representative organisation, the Victorian Chamber is privileged to provide our valued members with the opportunity to engage directly with the Treasurer immediately after the Budget.

“We understand and value the massive contribution business makes to the Victorian economy,” Treasurer Pallas said. “What is occurring in the Victorian economy is in no small part due to your efforts to stabilise business, keep people in employment and grow the economy.” You can read more about the event on our website.

Economic recovery was a key theme of the Treasurer’s eighth Budget which in our view focused on the three Ps: Patients through a focus on boosting and strengthening our health system; Participation, through getting people into the workforce and enabling Victorian businesses to participate on a global scale and Provincial, through a significant investment into our regional areas.

While the commitments for business were modest, we’re pleased the Government adopted a number of the Victorian Chamber’s proposals to help put them back in the driver’s seat of the State’s economy. These include making it easier to operate a business through a $100 million investment in an improved Services Victoria app which directly aligns with our call for a business concierge service to cut red tape and paperwork.

We welcome the investment in skills and training as well as major events and tourism including the $2.6 billion for the 2026 Commonwealth Games. Importantly, there is also a plan to pay back the debt accrued during the pandemic through the VicRoads Joint Venture, which will get Victoria back into surplus by 2025-26.

There is also a significant focus on enticing businesses, investment and tourists back into Victoria, which will no doubt be boosted by the State’s investment in events.

With all that in mind, we know this is an election year and we expect there to be more investment and initiatives for business announced as we enter that election cycle. One thing is certain following yesterday’s audience with the Treasurer - he understands it will be key to Victoria’s recovery.

We will continue strongly advocating for more measures to support business and ensure it plays a leading role in our recovery as we head towards the State Election in November.

Leading on from the State Budget, we know that Victoria’s tourism industry will help shape the future of our visitor economy. The Victorian Government is inviting employers and workers within the tourism industry to share their ideas and opinions, which will help inform the Visitor Economy Master Plan and develop an overarching strategy to drive tourism development over the next 10 years to help propel the state’s recovery. More information and a link to make a submission can be found here.

It looks like the last of the lovely autumnal weather is behind us, but what an unseasonably excellent run of sunshine we had. Enjoy the rest of the week, and I hope to see some of you at the VCCI event breakfast with Federal Treasurer Josh Frydenberg tomorrow.

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