AiG Call for Big Projects in Victoria

Monday, November 3rd, 2014
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Victoria’s next government should back coal seam gas and wind farms, build the East West Link and oppose more public holidays, an industry association says.

The Australian Industry Group’s wishlist ahead of the November 29 state election also calls for cuts to payroll tax and red tape, and a boost to productivity.

The Victorian economy was at a “critical juncture” as the mining and manufacturing sectors waned, said the Ai Group, and the incoming government must help spark new economic activity.

“Put simply, other parts of our economy need to step up their investment, employment and productivity if we are to improve incomes and living standards across the community,” Ai Group state director Tim Piper said in the group’s Victorian State Election Statement.

The statement criticised Victoria’s moratorium (until mid-2015) on coal seam gas exploration and fracking, saying the state has substantial untapped gas reserves and rising domestic demand.

The group also said wind farms were too often blocked by special veto powers held by neighbouring property owners, and state not local government should play a greater role in approvals.

Melbourne’s East West Link tollway should be built and, in a slap for Labor, the Ai Group said opposition parties that promised to tear up government contracts caused taxpayer costs to rise.

“Businesses tendering for future work will be compelled to add a higher risk premium in their bids,” the statement warned.

The Ai Group also said any increase to Victoria’s 11 public holidays would hurt productivity and cost the retail and hospitality sectors $201 million in penalty rates.

* Build East West Link to boost productivity

* Cut restrictions on wind farms, coal seam gas

* Set up new state body to plan and prioritise major projects

* Lower business taxes and cut red tape

* No new public holidays

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