The Victorian Government today urged the federal Labor Government to back a new investment program for the Geelong region.
Minister for Manufacturing, Exports and Trade, Richard Dalla-Riva said the Victorian Coalition Government has committed $4 million to a program to attract new industry, and to support existing industry to find new market opportunities.
Mr Dalla-Riva urged the Commonwealth Government to also support the fund, saying the Coalition Government had proposed to provide an additional amount to the program, if the Commonwealth contributed proportional funding.
"This fund acknowledges the challenges facing the manufacturing sector in the region, given recent announcements relating to the operations of Alcoa, Ford and Qantas at Avalon," Mr Dalla-Riva said.
"It is above and beyond a substantial financial contribution the Victorian Government is also making, along with the Commonwealth, to help secure Alcoa's operations at Point Henry.
"This $4 million fund is provided by the Victorian Government and will help promote new investment and jobs for the Geelong region, and provide existing industry in the manufacturing supply chain with support to develop new products and identify and capture new markets.
"We believe the Commonwealth should also be supporting this program with previous joint initiatives proving successful in the past.
"The program we are proposing is modelled on the original Geelong Industry Innovation Fund (GIIF), which was a program funded by the Howard Government and the Bracks Government.
"In this instance, however, the Gillard Government is yet to match the Victorian Government's funding commitment. The Victorian Government has expressed to Federal Industry Minister, Greg Combet, that a Commonwealth commitment would enable this program to have a greater impact on the Geelong region," Mr Dalla_Riva said.
Last year, the Gillard Government made a $20 million commitment to the Illawarra region in NSW after a restructuring announced by Bluescope Steel.
"I again urge Minister Combet to make a commitment along the same lines to the people of Geelong," Mr Dalla-Riva said.