Manufacturing jobs in Victoria increased for the second quarter in a row, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force data released today.
The Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade, Richard Dalla-Riva, said it was encouraging that investment and jobs were continuing to grow in the manufacturing sector in Victoria, despite the challenges of a strong dollar.
Mr Dalla-Riva said the ABS quarterly labour force data for May showed 311,800 Victorians were employed in manufacturing – more than when the Victorian ALP was voted out of office in November, 2010.
According to the ABS, there are 16,700 more people employed in manufacturing in Victoria today than in August 2011. Most of the increases in jobs were in full-time employment.
"This sends a strong message to those who would seek to talk down the future of manufacturing in Victoria," Mr Dalla-Riva said.
"Victorian manufacturing has shown great fortitude and resilience in the face of multiple challenges including the currency appreciation and intense global competition. It is notable that employment in manufacturing has held up in Victoria while it has fallen across the nation generally.
"The Victorian Coalition Government has introduced a $58 million strategy to help manufacturers build a strong and successful future by improving their productivity and competitiveness, and by assisting them in identifying and capturing emerging growth markets globally.
"Just yesterday, I was pleased to join the Deputy Premier, Mr Ryan, in announcing plans for an expanded and upgraded production at SPC Ardmona in Shepparton and Mooroopna. These are key industries in regional Victoria," Mr Dalla-Riva said
"However, the stresses in the sector are not to be underestimated. As I have said repeatedly, there could not be a worse time to introduce a carbon tax.
"Higher energy costs under a carbon tax will have a severe impact on profitability and investment, and it will put our manufacturers at a distinct disadvantage against competitors in our own region, who will not carry the added burden of this tax.
"Labor's carbon tax represents a direct threat to jobs in Victorian manufacturing.
"If the Gillard Government was serious about addressing economic imbalances created by the mining boom, they would recognise that the carbon tax will penalise harshly some of the key industries in the manufacturing heartlands, including food processing, automotive and heavy engineering.
"During tough times, many of our industries are showing enormous strength and persistence. Why is Labor insisting on making life harder for them than it is already?"