Minister for Innovation, Services and Small Business Louise Asher and the Victorian Coalition Government's two foremost business councils have met in Morwell today, the first time the new councils have convened outside Melbourne.
Ms Asher said she and the Small Business Ministerial Council and Multicultural Business Council were able to hear from local Gippsland businesses at the meeting.
"This is a significant time for the Latrobe Valley, particularly with the introduction of the Gillard Government's carbon tax," Ms Asher said.
"The carbon tax increases the threat of job losses for Victorians employed in the power generation sector here in Morwell and surrounding areas.
"The Gillard Government's carbon tax is intended to shut down the Latrobe Valley's brown coal generators, which will have a devastating impact on the region.
"The Coalition Government will continue to fight for the Latrobe Valley's future, and listening to and responding to business is central to our approach for creating stronger economic prospects for regional Victoria," Ms Asher said.
Ms Asher was joined at today's meetings by the Parliamentary Secretary for Small Business and Member for Morwell Russell Northe.
Mr Northe said the fact the councils' first regional meeting was in Morwell showed the Coalition Government recognised the importance of the area as a regional economic and jobs hub.
"Today's meetings will give local small businesses an effective voice at senior levels of Government," Mr Northe said.
"Minister Asher and I are serious about supporting small businesses to grow and develop, and to listening to their good ideas to help influence government policy."
"The Gillard Government's failure to provide small to medium enterprises with any real compensation for the carbon tax shows the disregard Labor has for the enormous contribution these businesses make to Victorian communities and our economy."