January 20, 2012
Helping to create new opportunities and protecting existing jobs will be the key focus for 2012, according to The Nationals Member for Gippsland Darren Chester.
Mr Chester said he was aiming to build stronger links across the Gippsland and Latrobe Valley business community to encourage more businesses to employ local people and support economic growth in the region.
He will be hosting business forums throughout the year and urging all business owners in Gippsland to suggest ways that governments can assist in helping regional growth.
“In difficult global economic circumstances, there’s a need for local businesses and the local community to support each other and protect local jobs,” Mr Chester said.
“We have a diverse regional economy and can withstand some external shocks but we don’t need governments putting more obstacles in the way like the new carbon tax.
“One of the obvious ways that local, state and federal governments can help businesses is to reduce red tape and let business owners invest with confidence and certainty.
“I’m keen to listen to any ideas from local business owners who are interested in expanding and creating new opportunities in Gippsland.
“Small and medium sized businesses, including the agricultural sector, are the engine room of the Gippsland economy and when our local industries are profitable, the entire region prospers.
“We need to keep building stronger networks across the region where locals support our own businesses and help to sustain and create new jobs.
“By putting locals first and purchasing goods and services from businesses in our region, we can all invest in the future of Gippsland.”
Mr Chester said it was critical that all levels of government supported growth in the region through investment in better infrastructure and improved services along with decentralising government activities where possible.
“Regional development is not just about building better roads, improving telecommunications or tourism marketing campaigns,” Mr Chester said.
“It requires a whole-of-government approach where taxpayers’ money is invested in better education and health services which help to make it more attractive to live and work in a regional area.
“There also needs to be an ongoing commitment from governments to decentralise service delivery. Many staff who are currently working in city offices could undertake their duties just as efficiently and be more responsive to the needs of regional communities if they were moved to a region like Gippsland.
“I’m looking forward to continuing to work with the business community across Gippsland and the Latrobe Valley to promote new opportunities and encourage jobs growth in 2012.”