JOHN BRUMBY – LABOR VALUES – A FAIRER VICTORIA

Posted on 21. Jun, 2010 in Victoria

On Saturday 19 June Premier John Brumby spoke on his vision for Victoria.

“I want to begin by acknowledging the traditional owners of the land on which we gather – the Kulin Nation – and pay my respects to their Elders, past and present.

And in that context, let me commend to conference our Aboriginal Development Strategy – a great plan developed by Rob Hulls and Richard Wynne in partnership with indigenous Victorians – a real plan to close the gap by providing real opportunities and real jobs.

I welcome you all to State Conference.

Introduction

Today, I want to talk to you about the Labor Party’s responsibility to defend the fair go in our State.

Our responsibility to underwrite fairness in the workplace.

Our responsibility to share the proceeds of a strong economy fairly and compassionately.

Our responsibility to deliver strong leadership in challenging times.

Delegates, Australians will soon make a very important choice and Victorians also will make another very important choice.

It’s a choice between a step forward, and a step back; between a positive vision for the future, and a chorus of negativity, knocking and blocking.

Delegates, we have an important task – a big task – ahead of us.

The Liberal past

We all remember what it was like when the Liberals and Nationals were last in power – the damage they did. The schools they shut down, the public servants they sacked, the hospitals they closed, the police they cut from the force.

We remember when the critics were silenced, and when our Opponents governed only for the top end of town. And we remember what Tony Abbott was like in power.

We will never forget that the current Opposition Leaders – State and Federal – were two of the nation’s biggest cheerleaders for Work Choices – work laws that sought to destroy the fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work. That’s why we must stand up and campaign for our values.

Labor values

Delegates, Victoria is a better place today because of the return of Labor values – fairness, economic opportunity for all, democracy, sustainability and respect. These are the values woven through this platform.

And I thank Daniel Andrews, chair of platform committee, Party Secretary Nick Reece and all the party members whose hard work and careful thought went into the development of this platform.

The values in this platform are our values. They are why I joined the Australian Labor Party. And I’m sure the same can be said of everyone in this room. They are my values. They are your values. They are also Victorian values.

The Blueprint – Labor values in action

Delegates, this week we saw a perfect example of Labor values in action.

I’ve travelled all over rural and regional Victoria this week, presenting our Blueprint for Regional Victoria – ‘Ready for Tomorrow’.

It’s a Labor blueprint through and through. Because Labor is the unifying force in Australian politics. The party that says: we’re all in this together; we all have a stake in the future; and nobody should be left behind.

But back in the 1990s, country Victoria was left behind. A long, long way behind.  The Liberals and Nationals not only failed to invest – they actively shut down hospitals and schools. People left the regions in droves.

I will never forget walking along Barkly Street in Ararat in 1999. More than 20 shops were empty and closed. The town was on its knees and it mirrored what was happening in towns and communities right across the State.

Because the Liberals didn’t just call regional Victorian communities ‘toenails’ – they treated them that way.

But delegates, regional Victoria is very different today. Our Government has worked with country communities to grow population, to improve job opportunities, to invest in basic services and to tackle climate change through initiatives like Climate Communities.

And the $631 million Blueprint we released this week is a partnership with country communities to lock in their prosperity for the future – and I want to acknowledge the 18 months of consultation and hard work by Jacinta Allan.

Strong leadership

Our regional blueprint represents the kind of strong leadership Victoria needs. Leadership that understands Victorians’ needs and aspirations. Leadership that involves working with communities to plan and build for the long term. Strong leadership for challenging times. A Government prepared to take the tough decisions.

That is the responsibility of Government. It is a responsibility we relish. It’s a responsibility our opponents have demonstrated they can never fulfil.

Like when the Global Financial Crisis reached our shores. We acted decisively, injecting a record $11.5 billion into job-creating infrastructure – securing tens of thousands of jobs … they ran a scare campaign on debt.

We said our budget discipline would deliver economic growth through these difficult times. They talked down our economy and predicted a recession which didn’t happen.

We promised to create 35,000 jobs in one year. They said Labor just can’t be trusted on jobs. Delegates, in the last 12 months we’ve created 113,000 jobs – the most of any State. That’s 113,000 Victorians able to provide for themselves and their families.

We know what a decent job means to a person.  We believe in the dignity of work.  That has always been a fundamental Labor value, and it always will be. And that’s why, when we see a strong Budget like the one John Lenders handed down last month, we see more than just numbers on a page.

We see jobs.  We see people.  We see families, and we see communities. We also see train lines, and schools, and hospitals going up all over Victoria.  We see more police on our streets.

Delegates, that’s what a strong economy can deliver. That’s the kind of strong leadership I believe Victoria deserves.

The Right Plans

And that’s what we will continue to deliver, as we rise to the challenges our State faces today and into the future:

  • A growing and ageing population.
  • A volatile global economy.
  • A changing climate.

Labor has the right plans for the future. We’re investing more in our health system than has ever been invested before – $4 billion in this year’s Budget.

We are building and rebuilding hospitals all over Victoria – with the new $1 billion Royal Children’s; a new $473 million hospital for Bendigo; a $407 million redevelopment of Box Hill Hospital; and a new $1 billion Comprehensive Cancer Centre in Parkville.

And we’re doing all this because every week one thousand Victorians celebrate their 65th birthday, and every day 200 new babies are born.

And when those babies get to school age, they will get the very best facilities the State can offer. Our Victorian Schools Plan has set an ambitious goal:  To rebuild, extend, or renovate every single government school in the State. We said we’d do 500 this term. And in fact we’re going to surpass that by 53 schools.

And we are addressing the challenge of climate change – while the Conservatives continue to deny it exists and the Greens Political Party refuses to step up to the plate. As the world moves to a climate constrained economy, we are determined to create a climate of opportunity here in Victoria.

That’s why our nation-leading Victorian Renewable Energy Target has created $2 billion of investment in new energy like solar and wind – as well as 2000 new jobs.

And that’s why we’re planning Australia’s largest solar power station. It’s why we’re moving to six-star energy ratings for new housing. It’s why we released our $175 million Jobs for a Future Economy plan to secure the new jobs that will be created through global action on climate change.

We are determined to protect Victorian jobs, secure our energy supply and cut greenhouse gas emissions for a sustainable future – to build our State as the most prosperous, liveable and sustainable in Australia.

Our plans are all about building a State with the best hospitals, the best schools, the best environment – and secure jobs. And all of our plans reflect the strong Labor values laid out in this platform.

Announcements

One of those values is fairness. It is a core Labor value.

And that’s why I am proud to announce today that our first two commitments for this year’s election are based firmly on fairness.

Alongside the Budget each year we release A Fairer Victoria.

This is our plan to make sure all Victorians can share in the prosperity of our State. We are the only government in Australia to release such a comprehensive statement. It’s a plan that, since it began in 2005, has run into the billions of dollars.

Today I can announce that a re-elected Brumby Labor Government will continue this historic investment in A Fairer Victoria.

Of course, in order to deliver on our commitment to A Fairer Victoria, we rely heavily on the incredible work of the social and community services sector. This emotionally taxing labour – often performed by women – is critical to the fabric of our community.  And the value of this labour is not always reflected in the pay they receive.

I am proud that there are people in this room – good Labor people – helping the sector with their pay claim at Fair Work Australia.

Today I am proud to announce that a re-elected Labor Government will back Fair Work Australia’s decision on this pay claim.

We will factor in any wage increases to our service agreements with community services organisations and ensure those wage increases are passed on to workers. That means a fair go for the hardworking people at Yooralla who support families caring for a child with a disability and for the dedicated Salvos workers who are assisting homeless Victorians.

It’s about supporting the family support workers at Anglicare who are helping our most vulnerable families provide the best care to their children.  In partnership with the community sector, we will work over time to provide the level of funding the sector needs to pay its invaluable workers, and get on with the job of caring for the most vulnerable people in our State.

It’s a commitment that will impact on our budget – but it is what we believe in. We believe in a fair day’s pay for a fair day’s work.

The threat to Labor values

Delegates, it is for the sake of hard working Victorians – like those in the community sector – that we must stand up and defend Labor values. It is only our Labor values that stand between them and the Liberal and National Parties who would cast them adrift.

And if you want to know what things would be like under the Liberals and Nationals in Victoria, you just have to look at what would have happened if we’d listened to our Opponents over the last few years:

We’d have no Regional Fast Rail. We’d have no Channel Deepening Project, which has secured the future of our port and generated thousands of jobs. There would be no new Equal Opportunity Bill and its stronger safeguards against discrimination.

There’d be no Foodbowl Modernisation Project, and no water security for our farmers. We wouldn’t be building Australia’s largest desalination plant and securing a non-rainfall dependent source of water for Victoria. There’d be no Goldfields Superpipe for Bendigo and Ballarat.

There’d be no $3.7 billion injection in our schools through the stimulus program. We wouldn’t be building an extra 4500 social housing units for low income Victorians.

There’d be no Victorian Renewable Energy Target, and wind farms would be almost impossible to get up. There’d be no protection for river red gums along the Murray.

And – perhaps most importantly – there wouldn’t be the tens of thousands of jobs created by our Labor Government when the GFC hit and families needed us most.

The Liberal and National Parties have opposed all these things.

Conclusion

And so the stakes for this election are extremely high – and we need all hands on deck. Unlike our opposition, we’re not afraid of hard work. Many of us have fought many hard campaigns in the past, both State and Federal. I know what’s kept me going, and it’s summed up in chapter one of this platform.

Delegates, we can all be proud of what we have achieved in our State since the dim dark 1990s.

We have rebuilt the hospitals, the rail lines, the childcare centres, the police stations, the water infrastructure, the libraries, the roads, the community centres, the sports ovals, the schools. And we’ve hired the extra nurses, teachers and police officers that underpin family life in our great State.

We’ve built the foundations for a prosperous future and we’ve done all this with a strong budget, healthy surpluses and our AAA credit rating maintained.

And this Victorian election is all about the future. It is about who Victorians trust to rise to the challenges of our times. It is about who has the right long term plans to secure our quality of life.

It is about who will take action against the threat of the global downturn, create new jobs and stand up for our rights at work. It is about who will secure our environment from the threat of climate change.

It is about who will do the hard work of nation-building to secure the future. It is about who is prepared to stand up and fight for a fair go for all Victorians. And it is about a real partnership with the community.

It is about defending the very values that are in this platform. That’s why I commend the platform to Conference.

Labor values belong to all of us – they are great values – and I urge you to join me as we stand up to achieve this Labor vision for our great State.”

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