The golden arches will soon rise over eight new McDonald's outlets in Victoria.

The golden arches will soon rise over eight new McDonald's outlets in Victoria. Photo: Michele Mossop

It seems most fortunate that Victoria’s Health Minister David Davis and Treasurer Michael O’Brien didn’t get their press releases mixed up.

‘‘Would you like jobs with that?’’ inquired Mr O’Brien, creatively heralding McDonald’s announcement of eight new hamburger joints across the state.

There’s to be a new McDonald’s in Ballarat, which currently only has four of them. Ballarat was recently declared Victoria’s No. 1 destination for frequency of heart attacks. 

Meanwhile, Mr Davis was launching a less appetising anti-fat campaign that ‘‘takes people inside their own bodies, showing the toxic build-up of visceral fat’’.

In these pre-election days, with the state government increasingly frantic with the business of trying to save itself, a joint press release covering both these developments would surely have saved time.

‘‘Would you like obesity with that?’’ might, of course, have caused a halfway self-respecting press secretary to suffer an attack of the vapours.

It would have been entertaining, however, and not entirely inaccurate.

Victoria would certainly like jobs with that, thanks.

With the state’s unemployment rate hovering around 7 per cent, youth unemployment in many areas upwards of 20 per cent and manufacturing plants closing faster than you can blink, a job - any job - is the sort of thing a growing number of Victorians, and particularly the harried state government, would like on their menus.

Mr O’Brien, fairly clearly, couldn’t resist trumpeting the promised 1000 jobs he says will be served with the eight new McDonald’s fast-food establishments.

Most of these jobs may not prove to be as full-time as, say, the factory floor at Ford, Holden or Alcoa, and a lot of them might offer not a lot more than useful walking-around money for school kids, but they are indisputably jobs, and work, moreover, for that work-starved youth demographic.

Still, Mr Davis could hardly be blamed if he wished Mr O’Brien and his press-release writing team had restrained themselves, or chosen a more tolerable time, to hail the latest outbreak of McDonald’s campaign to McFeast the world, with fries and a shake on the side.

The Cancer Council and the Heart Foundation are behind the effort, launched by Mr Davis, to alert us in alarming technicolour of toxic fat simmering away beneath those grabbable stomach rolls, within which, we are informed, lurk the makings of hearts attacks, onset of diabetes Type 2 and certain cancers.

Both organisations have been trying since Victoria was a manufacturing state to spread the message that more than half Australia’s adults and almost a quarter of its children are overweight or obese, and that the figures are getting worse all the time. Oh, yes, and they have produced scads and scads of research drawing a clear link between the rise of fast food consumption and obesity, which, we assume, needs only to be filed under the sub-heading ‘‘d’uh, oh’’.

Better to talk about the jobs, clearly.

There’s to be a new McDonald’s in Ballarat, which currently only has four of them. Ballarat was recently declared Victoria’s No. 1 destination for frequency of heart attacks. 

Lara, between Geelong and Werribee, is to get another. The Geelong area, apart from bleeding jobs, has 11 eateries beneath golden arches, according to McDonald’s own map, and there are another 12 in the Werribee area.

Most of the other new fast-food hamburgeries will be in Melbourne’s outer suburbs, though one will be in Traralgon East, to match the one already in the area.

Melbourne currently has 226 McDonald’s, which clearly isn’t enough.

Would you like to upsize your order with that?