Monday, 8 February 2016
Wannon Electorate: Employment
The government is delivering on its commitment to provide jobs for Australians. Since we were elected, the economy has seen 427,000 jobs created. Under Labor jobs only grew at 1.6 per cent, but under the coalition, in just two and half years, this has increased to 2.6 per cent. This is well above the 10-year average of 1.8 per cent. More than this, we are on track to fulfil our commitment to deliver one million jobs in five years, and last year was the best year for job creation since 2006.
Most importantly, this government will continue to deliver jobs for local communities in rural and regional Australia. Sustainable job growth comes from the government giving businesses confidence and making sure regional and rural Australia have the projects and opportunities they need to grow their local economies.
Across Wannon we are seeing this government's plan deliver local jobs by giving local businesses the confidence they need to employ and to invest. We saw that in last year's budget with incentives to small businesses to invest, to make sure that they had that little bit extra in their pockets to take those risks and decisions to put more back into their businesses and to ensure that if there was an opportunity to employ, they would do so.
We are seeing these jobs in the construction of infrastructure and repair of local bridges and roads. We are seeing them in the increased business flowing from hard-fought free trade agreements with Korea, Japan and China, all delivering an absolute benefit especially to our agriculture sector. We are seeing them in the delivery of election commitments, such as the new cancer care centre in Warrnambool, which will provide cancer care for people throughout western Victoria. We are seeing them in the development of trade training centres, like those in Maryborough and Cobden.
The upgrade of the Western Highway through Wannon, for example, is generating 480 local jobs. This $505 million project will see these workers employed during its construction between Ballarat and Stawell. Communities like Portland are benefiting from a tourism boom, thanks to the introduction of cruise ships into the port. Each ship that docks brings with it over 2,000 tourists, and they spend $1 million or more in the local community. Buses take these visitors to the surrounding towns, and there is a benefit into smaller communities as a result. There is also the Whale Trail, which Portland is on. We now have a superb viewing platform to see the whales during the migration season and people can see where else they can go along the eastern seaboard to see whales, as they swim up and down the coast.
The government is also investing in tourism projects like that in the Grampians, where we have delivered $10 million to complete the Grampians Peak Trail, which will also see 35 full-time jobs created. We have the Great Ocean Road upgrade, which means that the millions of visitors to the Twelve Apostles will do so more safely and have more time to stop to see the magnificent view and spend up big in the local community.
It is projects and initiatives like these that are delivering employment opportunities and jobs in Wannon, thanks to the coalition government. Another key aspect of this government has been the improvement in opportunities for young people looking for work—something I have been a strong advocate for since being elected.
In Labor's six years of government, 55,000 more young Australians were added to the unemployment queue. This is Labor's legacy—a legacy of rising youth unemployment, a legacy of neglect. If young Australians cannot find opportunities for work, it means that they cannot get the experience and exposure for a productive life in the workforce. This government has already had success in turning around Labor's mess in this regard. Youth unemployment under the coalition government has fallen from 12.6 per cent to 11.3 per cent.