Wednesday, 17 June 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. According to the Reserve Bank minutes released yesterday, the unemployment rate has been suppressed because an unusually high number of people have drop out of the labour force. With hundreds of thousands of jobs already lost, hundreds of thousands of people having dropped out of the labour force and hundreds of thousands of people in jobs but working zero hours, why won't the Treasurer backtrack on his plan to snap back support for Australian workers in September?
The member for Rankin can't blame the media for everything. The reality is we've been through a once-in-a-century pandemic which is unfortunately putting people out of work and sending them on to the jobseeker program, and those who have seen reduced hours are going on to the JobKeeper program. What we did see in relation to jobs yesterday was some ABS weekly payroll jobs data which actually said that the number of total payroll jobs had increased by one per cent through May. This is the start of the recovery that we're seeing as the restrictions are eased as a result of our country's success in flattening the curve. It was particularly important to see payroll jobs worked by females increase by 1.4 per cent through May, compared with 0.4 per cent for males.
The member for Rankin refers to the RBA minutes. I also saw the RBA minutes. Those minutes said that the number of jobs had stabilised or increased a little, suggesting that the total decline in hours worked may be less than had previously been feared.
Dr Chalmers interjecting—
There's the member for Rankin, always talking about the economy. He is always talking down the economy, in a desperate and delusional bid for relevance. But there it is: in the Reserve Bank minutes that he seeks to quote, they are talking about how the economy is coming back because of the success that we have had as a nation in flattening the curve.
I've said at this dispatch box before, and so has the Prime Minister, that our success on the health front is allowing us now to get the economy back into the recovery phase. If you look at the OECD's recent report, they said that the Australian economy will grow by around four per cent next year and that the contraction this year will be by no means as severe as it is in other countries. So, I say to the member for Rankin—I don't blame the media—understand the fact that we have gone through a once-in-a-century pandemic. I know that he's after one other job, but at least he should try to do his.