Jaala is a Member for the Western Victoria Region and is the Minister for Employment, Minister for Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, Minister for Small Business and Minister for Resources.
After serving as the first female Agriculture Minister; and Minister for Regional Development in the previous term of the Andrews Labor government, Jaala took on the role of Minister for Roads; Road Safety and the TAC; and the Minister for Fishing and Boating. In 2020 Jaala was appointed Minister for Employment; Small Business; Innovation, Medical Research and the Digital Economy, and Jaala was sworn in as Minister for Resources in August 2021.
Jaala has played a significant role in the government’s COVID-19 response, which has included record investment in small business support, massive investment in COVID-19 and other vital medical research, the establishment of the Australian Institute for Infectious Disease and support for local mRNA manufacturing. Jaala has overseen employment programs that are providing a career lifeline to thousands of Victorians displaced from work by the pandemic, while also supporting social enterprises and small to medium sized employers. Jaala has been a strong advocate for the innovation and tech sector, recognising the sector’s role in improving people’s lives and generating the jobs of the future.
During previous terms of government, Jaala oversaw significant reform including the establishment of Regional Partnerships and a medicinal cannabis industry, mandatory electronic tagging of sheep and Victoria’s first digital agriculture program, greater animal welfare protections and making Victoria a mecca for recreational fishers.
Jaala has been a Member for Western Victoria since 2006 after spending more than a decade as an official of the National Union of Workers. Having grown up in Castlemaine, she now lives in Ballarat with her husband, her son, two greyhounds, and the everlasting memory of her beloved daughter Sinead.