Treasurer lauds resilience of Victorian business

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas MP has praised business for the resilience it has shown as the state emerges from the pandemic and embarks on economic recovery.

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A day after handing down the 2022-23 State Budget, Mr Pallas joined the Victorian Chamber and the Melbourne Press Club to outline its key features and impact on Victoria’s economic recovery

Mr Pallas lauded the resilience and adaptability of the business community throughout COVID-19.

“We understand and value the massive contribution business makes to the Victorian economy,” he 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.

"Yes, the state can be a buffer and we can have policy leadership… but ultimately if business is not working then the Commonwealth is not working.”

To support business and the state, Mr Pallas said his government’s fiscal strategy has created jobs, reduced unemployment and restored economic growth, returned the Budget to an operating cash surplus and Victoria is on track to stabilise debt levels.

The Treasurer is dealing with the latter through the Future Fund’s VicRoads modernisation joint venture: “Net debt will be lower in every year than previously forecast,” Mr Pallas said.

Victoria’s Big Build has also played a big role in recovery, with further investments in road and rail projects announced in the Budget.

With a State Election due in November, the Treasurer discussed the Budget’s implications for business, jobs, investment, infrastructure, trade, tourism and the regions.

Mr Pallas said his eighth Budget was focused on the “health and wellbeing of every single Victorian” following the pandemic, admitting Victoria is “not out of it yet but we can see a way through to the other side”.

“It’s fair to say last two years were not predictable or asked for,” Mr Pallas conceded. But while this presented an existential challenge, it also offered an “opportunity to test the mettle and see what opportunities opened up to the state.”

By “being able to let Victorians know we’ve always been in their corner”, he said business now has the opportunity to see potential of a “rebound economy”.

These foundations have seen recovery exceed expectations, Mr Pallas said, with the unemployment rate at a record low. About 280,000 jobs have been created recently with young people, women and single parents amongst the main beneficiaries.

Because of this he believes the Budget outlook for Victoria is strong, with business confidence above pre-pandemic levels. “Victorians are crowding back to jobs, restaurants, events and stadiums,” he said.

Mr Pallas also outlined the Pandemic Repair Plan to deliver better hospitals, surgical facilities, home care and mental health. Other highlighted announcements included upgrades to the education system, including VCAL, TAFE and skills building.

Cost of living and energy payments are also being addressed, while the regions are being supported, particularly through the 2026 Commonwealth Games.

The Victorian Chamber, in partnership with Melbourne Press Club, presented this event for the sixth year, providing an exclusive opportunity to engage with the Treasurer and find out more about the 2022-23 Budget.

The Victorian Chamber’s overview of the Budget and its key announcements, including our response, is available here.

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