A new $1 billion Bringing Manufacturing Home fund would put Shepparton in the box seat to seize on new opportunities to bring manufacturing investment and jobs to the region.
As COVID-19 restrictions begin to ease, now is the time for the Andrews Labor Government to urgently act to get Victorians back to work and back in business.
Deputy Leader of The Nationals Steph Ryan called on the government to establish the fund, which would support new manufacturing businesses to move out to regional communities, grow existing local manufacturing and boost innovation.
“The impact of coronavirus on our supply chains should be the wakeup call governments need to give more support to manufacturing in regional Victoria,” Ms Ryan said.
“Not only are local manufacturers like SPC, Med-Con and Pental providing local jobs, but they are also critical in supplying the goods that Australians need.
“Victoria used to be the manufacturing heart of Australia. We now have the opportunity to bring manufacturing home to Victoria – where it belongs.”
Over the past 20 years more than 50,000 Victorian manufacturing jobs have been lost. A COVID-19 response is urgently needed to create jobs.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed holes in the national supply chain with an overreliance on a number of countries for provision of essential supplies such as personal protective equipment (PPE).
Leader of the Nationals Peter Walsh said it would prioritise support for industries of national importance such as PPE manufacture, defence procurement and medical supplies.
“COVID-19 has also exposed massive shortcomings in our local economy, particularly in our lack of local manufacturing capacity,” Mr Walsh said.
“Victorians need jobs off the back of the pandemic, and investment support should not be delayed for multiple years because the government places restrictions on how quickly the fund can be rolled out.”
The Bringing Manufacturing Home Fund adds to a number of polices announced by The Nationals to help Victoria recover from the economic fallout of COVID-19, including a $200 million Regional Tourism Fund and payroll tax relief.