On 18 July ANZCCJ together with Victoria Trade and Investment hosted a breakfast with Treasurer and Minister for Resources Mr. Timothy Pallas along with Special Minister of State, the Honourable Gavin Jennings. The delegation had a focus on Victoria’s post budget economy and recent infrastructure projects which were helping to drive Victoria’s economic growth. Attendees were left with a strong impression of why Victoria is a place for the Japanese to visit, invest and do business in.
Transport was highlighted as a key priority for the current Government with AU$35 million earmarked for the sector and more than 50 projects and reforms. To enable this and support the huge population growth (since 2014 Melbourne has increased in size equal to the population of Canberra). Key infrastructure investments were being prioritised, including the West Gate Tunnel Project. Mr Pallas noted the project has an expected 5-year build time and will change how people move around in Melbourne and how trucks get to the port. The project will also improve the distance and time for people to connect to the Melbourne economy. The Level Crossing Project, a signature of the government was also discussed. The project aims to remove 50 of Victoria’s most dangerous and congested crossings, helping the community get home safer and sooner as well as creating more jobs for the Victorian economy. These large-scale projects are supported by 32 public private partnerships, bringing in AUD30 billion in capital investment.
The Minister, Hon. Gavin Jennings noted the long-standing relationship between Victoria and its sister prefecture Aichi, for which he planned to visit during this trip to Japan. Victoria is home to several Japanese companies, with over 10,000 Victorians employed by them. The Victoria-Japan trade and economic relationship remains strong with Victoria’s exports to Japan reaching AUD1.7 billion in 2017.The minister highlighted Melbourne’s strength as a highly liveable city, pointing out that art, sport and culture experiences were merely within 15-20 minutes walking distance from one another. He quoted that on average, 29,000 attendees went to Japanese baseball games, but in Melbourne the average was 52,000 for AFL matches at the Melbourne Cricket Grounds.
Mr Tim Pallas and the Honourable Gavin Jennings also highlighted Victoria’s strong position within the Australian national economy, with the State being Australia’s leader in population growth, employment growth and full-time employment. Per Capita GDP is also double that of the national average. Since 2014 jobs have increased by 12 percent increase and accounts for one third of national job growth. Of this, Mr Pallas said 1 in 7 jobs were expected to be public servants including teachers, doctors and others.
This visit was the Treasurer’s second official visit to Japan his last visit being in 2015 and Minister Jennings third time visiting Japan, although first in his official capacity.