Tim Pallas predicts strong Geelong recovery

September 20, 2021 BY

Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas says austerity is no way to recover from a historic debt event such as the COVID-19 pandemic. Photo: JAMES ROSS/AAP IMAGE

GEELONG was doing well before the COVID-19 pandemic and is in an excellent position to keep doing well when it is over, according to Victorian Treasurer Tim Pallas.

The Geelong Chamber of Commerce featured Mr Pallas as a guest speaker in a webinar broadcast to the chamber’s members on Monday this week, moderated by chamber chief executive officer Ben Flynn.

Mr Pallas said an examination of the “big debt events” that had affected Australia and the world historically showed that “there is no way out of this if austerity is the key”, so a period of big spending and considerable post-pandemic growth was entirely possible.

“If people think the way for governments to help communities through a substantial economic event like a pandemic is to substantially wind back on its expenditure and to reduce its opportunities to nurture the economy, that is a foolhardy and a very destructive strategy, and this government won’t do it.

“But what we have seen is that if governments make the right strategic investments, you will see a generational shift in terms of economic growth over a number of years going forward, and practically, that’s how Australia paid back its World War II debt.

“We’ve got to back the Victorian people and Victorian business to get on and grow, and Victorian governments can’t be an anchor or deadweight on that aspiration, we have to be part of the solution.”

He said there was “no doubt Geelong was doing very well”.

“Property prices in Geelong have been quite stratospheric, I’ve got to say.

“Before the pandemic, Geelong was the fastest-growing metropolitan area or city in the nation, and now of course, we’re seeing through a variety of strategic investments of the government but also a general sense of optimism that we’ve seen play out in the city – the City Deal in partnership with the federal government.”

Mr Pallas said the state government’s reduction of payroll tax to a quarter of its historical level (and a quarter of the rate in metropolitan Melbourne) and reduction of stamp duty for commercial and industrial businesses had also been a factor.

“Geelong is a standout performer in many of those respects.”

He said Geelong and Melbourne would recover on different trajectories, with Geelong to do better initially, but would come closer together over the long term.

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