VICTORIA's most influential employer group today launched its election campaign warning the major parties that jobs, infrastructure, skills and international engagement will be vital issues in the November election.
The Victorian Employers’ Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) listed key priorities within these four areas that the major parties must address to win the support of Victorian business.
VECCI Chief Executive Mark Stone said Victoria has a solid economic base and industries such as health, finance, education and agribusiness have been identified as having growth potential.
“However Victoria’s potential will not be realised without policies that drive greater investment, confidence and business activity,” said Mr Stone.
“There must be incentives for employers to expand their business and employ more people.”
In launching VECCI’s Taking Care of Business campaign, Mr Stone highlighted some of VECCI’s priorities:
- Lift the threshold at which a business starts paying payroll tax to $850,000 - bringing payroll relief to 40,000 businesses and generating more jobs for Victoria.
- Commence construction of East West Link Stages 1 and 2 and the Melbourne Rail Link.
- Commit to the expansion of the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre – which would increase business tourism income by $150 million a year.
- Increase VET in schools funding to reduce youth unemployment and stimulate apprenticeships and traineeships.
- Redirect Training Guarantee funding to support career paths in the services sectors including hospitality, tourism and retail.
- Commit $75 million to Victoria’s international engagement strategy over the next four years.
- Build on Victoria’s strong export base by partnering with business to capitalise on free trade agreements and grow export opportunities in Asia across a wide range of industries.
Mr Stone said VECCI had launched its campaign almost six months before the election so the major parties have enough time to commit to its agenda for business.
“This is a crucial election for Victorian business,” said Mr Stone.
“A strong business sector means a financially healthier Victoria and VECCI has highlighted a number of recommendations vital to this. Many are longer term innovations that will require detailed discussion with both sides of politics.
“We are seeking a commitment to our agenda from the major political parties to ensure Victoria remains the best place in Australia to live, work and do business.”
The Victorian Employers' Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VECCI) is the peak body for employers in Victoria, informing and servicing more than 15,000 members, customers and clients around the state.
THE Australian Government’s commitment to continue funding a successful online mentoring program for women working in mining, oil and gas, is today welcomed by national resource industry employer group, AMMA.
An AMMA initiative, the Australian Women in Resources Alliance (AWRA) e-Mentoring Program was launched in early 2013 with a mandate to provide valuable support to women forging a career in the mining, oil and gas sectors.
“More than 150 resource professionals are already benefiting from the AWRA e-Mentoring Program, which facilitates a nine-month online mentoring relationship tailored to the remote locations and non-traditional work schedules of many resource workers,” says Tara Diamond, AMMA executive director, industry services.
“The federal government’s decision to continue joint-funding the AWRA e-Mentoring Program for another two years mirrors the commitment of resource employers to build a pipeline of female talent.
“Women have a critical role to play in ensuring the industry has the skills and talent to build and operate major resource projects well into the future, however the workforce is not as diverse as it could be.
“Investment in initiatives like AWRA is vital if we are to see women’s participation in the sector increase from the current 15% to our goal of 25% by 2020.”
Ms Diamond says following its initial success, the e-Mentoring scope will now target demographics of women which are particularly underrepresented in the industry.
“AWRA will bring on board experienced male and female mentors to engage with Indigenous and recently trade qualified women in the resources and allied sectors, as well as graduates in non-traditional roles,” she says.
“The real value of the e-Mentoring program is that each mentee has access to the most appropriate mentor from a variety of levels in the resource, related construction and allied service sectors, anywhere in the country.
“For a woman working on a remote mine site or oil rig, a connection to an experienced professional working in a different state or on another project can make all the difference to their career development.”
The e-Mentoring program is part of a suite of AWRA initiatives designed to attract, retain and develop women in the resource industry. This includes the AWRA Recognised Program – the industry’s first assessment of a resource organisation’s gender diversity capability.
PEAK retail industry body the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) congratulates the Federal Government for their commitment to supporting retailers to get on with the job of doing business through the Paid Parental Leave Amendment Bill 2014 which has come under debate today.
ARA Executive Director Russell Zimmerman said it is now more important than ever for the Federal Opposition to also support business and back the abolition of the ‘pay-clerk’ burden from the paid parental leave scheme.
“The Federal Government is trying to remove this major burden from all businesses but the Opposition is yet to show their support - which comes at a severe cost to business.
“The current system is overly complex and burdens business with having to carry the costs of changing their payroll systems and the additional paperwork. We are calling on all parties to put politics to one side and focus on making life a little easier for business owners, in turn helping business and the economy to grow and increasing employment opportunities.
“Under the Federal Government’s plan to remove the ‘pay-clerk’ burden, businesses of ALL sizes would be relieved of the red-tape burden of acting as the ‘pay-clerk’ for the paid parental leave scheme unless the employer and employee both ‘opt in’ to having the employer administer payments.
“We encourage the Opposition to stop playing politics on this issue and provide the support required for retailers to get on with the job of doing business. A common sense approach must prevail,” Mr Zimmerman said.
Since 1903, the Australian Retailers Association (ARA) has been the peak industry body representing Australia’s $265 billion retail sector, which employs over 1.2 million people. The ARA ensures retail success by informing, protecting, advocating, educating and saving money for its 5,000 independent and national retail members throughout Australia.
Visit www.retail.org.au or call 1300 368 041.