Thursday, 18 June 2020
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Treasurer. Will the Treasurer remind the House of the Morrison government's strong record in creating jobs? How will the Morrison government's JobMaker plan ensure more jobs are being created as our economy recovers from the COVID-19 pandemic? Is the Treasurer aware of any alternative policies?
I thank the member for Berowra for his question and acknowledge his extensive work in Indigenous health, in mental health and in education. I acknowledge his strong advocacy on those issues.
We entered this economic crisis from a position of economic strength. The coalition has helped create over 1½ million jobs since we came to government. We have seen the participation rate reach a record high. We saw youth unemployment fall. We saw the gender pay gap narrow. When it came to employment growth, in February we had an employment growth rate of two per cent, which was double the OECD average. In February, unemployment was 5.1 per cent, compared to the 5.7 per cent when we came to government. Of course, the economy has been hit by this one-in-a-century pandemic. What we saw today in the unemployment numbers, with the unemployment rate increased to 7.1 per cent, was how 228,000 people lost their jobs over the month of May. These are not just numbers. These are family members, these are friends, these are workmates and these are neighbours. That's the human toll of the coronavirus. That's why this government has responded with a range of income supports but also with the HomeBuilder program, knowing there are around one million people employed in the construction sector. With the extension of the instant asset write-off, recognising that investment creates jobs, and the bringing forward since last November of $7.8 billion of infrastructure programs and the fast tracking of 15 projects, we're helping to create more than 60,000 jobs. While the coalition was putting in place $260 billion of income support and the cash flow boost, doubling the safety net, providing cash payments to households—
Mr Hill interjecting—
and, of course, putting in place the JobKeeper program, what was the shadow ERC working on in the great traditions of Hawke and Keating? What was their single signature economic policy that they were working on to help get the economy working and get Australians back into work? What was it? What was the member for Rankin and the member for Grayndler working on? They were working on—wait for it—a national driver's licence as their single economic policy. Even the member for Rankin can't blame the media for that. That is the reality: a national drivers licence. L-plates from economic lightweights.