KEEPING jobs in Bendigo and addressing skills shortages in the region was the focus for the state shadow cabinet as they met business leaders and local councillors yesterday.
State Opposition Leader Daniel Andrews said it was an important opportunity to meet Bendigo stakeholders to hear first-hand of local employment concerns.
Mr Andrews, who stopped short of offering specific proposals for investment, said there were clear long-term goals that could boost jobs growth in the region.
“The government can’t fix everything, but we can certainly have a go and work hard to keep Victorians in work... it’s about building important major infrastructure projects, being considered about spending taxpayers’ money, supporting local industry, buying local as much as you can.”
The shadow cabinet met a cross-section of the business community at a round-table jobs forum.
“It was about listening to local industries and local leaders from the Bendigo community about jobs, about investment, about doing what we can do as an alternative government,” Mr Andrews said.
Bendigo Business Council chief executive Patrick Falconer said a key issue was finding solutions for the long-term unemployed.
“It’s always a good opportunity to talk about skill shortages and job opportunities... it gives you a chance to hammer home what Bendigo needs to go further forward and sustain jobs.” Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan said it was an upbeat discussion. “Bendigo continues to be a region where there’s a lot of positive activity,” she said.
“There’s obviously ongoing challenges to skills, attracting people out of the metropolitan region. But there were a lot of strong messages around opportunities for growing jobs.”
The shadow cabinet will today host a forum in Bendigo focusing on the aged care, carers and the disability sectors.