Time to focus on getting the right jobs

WE need to fire up the jobs engine in our ­region because jobs underpin our total community wellbeing. 

We need to particularly focus on jobs that are naturally strong supporters of younger generations. 

I am a fan of job opportunities across the board. But there are a handful of sectors that we should collectively target in our local economic planning. 

Retail jobs are vital and in the digital age convenience is the key. 

So supporting retail jobs means the council making sure we have parking, planning and weekend events that help, not hinder ,bricks-and-mortar retailers. Let’s make it convenient for people to shop down the street rather than go online. 

Hospitality jobs are vital too and that ­requires attracting plenty of visitors to ­Sunraysia. 

When someone in Melbourne is looking to get away for the weekend, we need our region to be front of mind. With our well serviced airport we need to better target short stays. 

Construction and manufacturing jobs are good and this is where skills and training are central. So properly resourcing institutions such as SuniTAFE and other educational hubs is a must. 

There is now a once-in-a-lifetime oppor­tunity to get a chunk of the $970 million from the lease of Melbourne’s port ­allocated to rural and regional Victoria for infrastructure projects. 

Finally, agriculture and food jobs are great. The way to keep growing the Mallee’s agriculture, horticulture and food industries is to increase our access to growing overseas consumer markets, particularly Asia and the Middle-East. Booming middle classes abroad want our table grapes, wine, almonds, wheat, vegetables and meat. 

But to smooth the path into these lucrative markets, we need local representatives to better highlight the technical barriers that are making life hard for our food exporters. 

Mildura was recently listed in the top 50 towns in Australia, nominated as one of the “hidden gems”. 

We should be aiming for the No.1 spot. Not just for bragging rights, but because climbing this ladder will bring the jobs to Mildura that set us up for the long run.

Liam Wood,

Mildura Council candidate

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