House debates

Thursday, 3 September 2020



12:14 pm

Photo of Brendan O'ConnorBrendan O'Connor (Gorton, Australian Labor Party, Shadow Minister for Employment and Industry) Share this | | Hansard source

I received an email this week that highlights the jobs crisis facing Australian workers. Rebecca, who is well-credentialed with four degrees, emailed me to say:

As the shadow Minister for Employment, I thought I would attach part of an email I received yesterday. The email states in black and white that I was one of 1178 applications for a job I applied for.

It is even worse than I thought, the jobs available with the numbers applying.

Thought you might be able to use this as proof of how bad the situation is on the jobs front. The LNP have no plan in place to improve the situation.

The email also states that for those 1,178 applicants:

… those selected via the selection process will be expected to commence in mid-January 2021.

It's truly a shocking figure: 1,178 applicants. This demonstrates that the national average of 13 applicants for every job vacancy, devastating enough as that is, doesn't capture the full scale of the jobs crisis in some sectors.

And yet the government has no credible plan for jobs. In fact, it was recently revealed in questioning by Senator Keneally during a COVID-19 Senate committee hearing that the Prime Minister's JobMaker package doesn't even exist. JobMaker is 'JobFaker'; it's an announceable in search of a policy. There are no interdepartmental working groups. There is no policy outline. There is no public information about JobMaker. There are no estimated numbers of jobs to be created. Those on this side of the House are all too aware that the Prime Minister's marketing based approach to policy is a do nothing approach for the million-plus workers who will soon see JobSeeker payments be cut at the end of this year.

Let me show another example of the government's marketing based approach to job policy. On Tuesday the minister for employment, Senator Cash, put out a media release which stated:

More than 900,000 job seekers are set to benefit from local jobs taskforces with specialised expertise and knowledge to get more Australians back into work.

That was the boast. There was going to be support for 900,000 jobseekers, and this new initiative amounted to $62.8 million. That's $70 for every jobseeker. That is not anything that will provide the succour and the support required for workers who are finding themselves thrown out of the labour market.

There's no plan for JobMaker. There's no detail. There's no goal for how many jobs. There are no infrastructure spends outlined. In fact, it's just pure spin. And now, with this announcement by Senator Cash, we have support of $62 million for 900,000 jobseekers, which amounts to a paltry $70 per jobseeker. That is not enough, and it underlines how little this government is doing to help those Australian workers—over one million Australian workers—who are seeking employment in this country.