House debates

Monday, 21 June 2021

Questions without Notice

COVID-19: Economic Recovery

2:32 pm

Photo of Stuart RobertStuart Robert (Fadden, Liberal Party, Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business) Share this | Hansard source

I thank the member for her question and all her hard work in supporting 2,200 apprentices in the electorate of Lindsay—the future tradies who are helping to build out Penrith as the heart of Western Sydney. I'm pleased to advise the House that young people especially are continuing to find work with the help of the Morrison government's plan for our economic recovery. Our plan, as we outline in the federal budget, is pretty straightforward. It's about protecting current jobs, connecting people with vacant jobs and, of course, skilling up our workforce for tomorrow's jobs. The plan is working. As the Treasurer said, unemployment is down 5.1 per cent. There were over 115,000 more Australians in work last month, and a lot of those continue to be those working in the apprenticeship field, indeed, boosting apprenticeship commencements. The BAC program is securing a record 300,000 tradies right across the country. The great thing about the current labour force figures is that they show that 8½ thousand young Australians gained employment last month. There are now 1.91 million young Australians in work. We are outperforming our peers in the OECD when it comes to youth unemployment—in fact, 3.3 per cent lower in comparison to others in the OECD. The recent data shows that our youth unemployment is one per cent lower than March 2020 and two per cent lower than when the coalition came to government.

They're great numbers but we all know that there's still a lot more to do. There are still 100,000 Australians receiving youth allowance (other), which means that they're not working or not in training. However, as we updated the House last week, we've seen the highest number of job adverts in 12 years, which means there's enormous opportunity for Australians right now to continue to get skilled. We're backing them in and we're backing the businesses in who are also working with them—like Baker and Provan, a company operating since 1946. The member for Lindsay and I went and visited them recently. It's one of those great manufacturing companies that makes stuff that we in Australia need. It makes things. It builds things. It was started by two returned diggers from World War II. They've trained over 70 apprentices and they've got six apprentices right now, like Jane, a first-year fitter we met, and Brad and Cameron, in their second and third years. They're manufacturing stuff for some of Australia's biggest projects, from trains to cranes, from tunnel borers to armoured vehicles and fast rescue boats. These are things that Australia wants—strong manufacturers that are employing Australians. They're family owned, they're Australian owned, they're a success story building things right in our backyard, and this government, this side of the House, is backing them in, backing small business in and backing Australians looking for a job in.


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