House debates

Thursday, 18 March 2021

Questions without Notice

Women in the Workforce

2:49 pm

Photo of Sussan LeySussan Ley (Farrer, Liberal Party, Minister for the Environment) Share this | Hansard source

It's a pleasure to take a question from the member for Reid, the first woman to represent the seat and one who owned and ran her own small business for 13 years before coming into this place. We're coming back from the COVID recession, and women are well and truly playing their part. The Morrison government recognises that increasing women's workforce participation is important for the economy as a whole—of course it is—but it's also vital for women's individual economic security and the choices that they're able to make for themselves and their families.

We're committed to backing women like Edwina Gilbert, in the member for Reid's electorate. She runs Phil Gilbert Motor Group with 180 employees. We're supporting Edwina in a variety of ways. The Gilbert group graduated from JobKeeper in September and are now hiring 12 new apprentices through our JobMaker plan. We're supporting women like Edwina and so many others through all of the measures in our 2020 Women's Economic Security Statement. Coming as it did during COVID, this $240 million package over five years provides targeted support to women to strengthen their employment choices, close the gender gap, identify women as leaders and, of course, keep our economy strong.

Many women were so worried during COVID. They lost their jobs, they were concerned for their family's future and they worried about their children and their elderly parents, but today's ABS figures show that our comeback plan is working. Out of the 89,000 new full-time jobs, 69,000 of those went to women, meaning we're now having record-high women's employment. These aren't just numbers and statistics; they're new jobs, and they're showing that our economic recovery is underway. The Morrison government is committed to improving these jobs figures through measures such as JobTrainer, which supports upskilling and career changes.

We want to see women come out stronger, with new ideas, which we know they always have, with new job opportunities and new training. The CEO of the Canberra Institute of Technology described JobTrainer as a 'fantastic opportunity for women' and said, 'Sixty per cent of our enrolments are already being taken up by women.' There is always more work to do, and certainly we must include that we ensure women are well-remunerated and well-respected in safe and supported workplaces. As women come out of this challenging period of COVID, they can have the confidence that the Morrison government continues to back them and the choices they make. JobMaker, JobTrainer, our childcare package, our Women's Economic Security Statement and so many other initiatives are charting the way forward.


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