Thursday, 18 March 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Prime Minister. Will the Prime Minister please update the House on how the Morrison government's COVID-19 Economic Recovery Plan is strengthening our economy and creating jobs to chart our comeback from the COVID-19 pandemic?
I thank the member for Boothby for her question, and I thank her for her courage, which has been on display in this chamber each and every day, and certainly in the most recent days, but none greater than the courage she showed at the last election. When she went to that election and faced that torrent, she did so for many reasons. One of the reasons was that she believes in Australians getting into jobs, like all the members on this side. It is our great mission to continue to do everything we can to put Australians into work. As we came out of that last election, we continued to see jobs created. We'd got to the point where 1½ million jobs in total had been created since we first came to government. We wanted to keep going, but then the global pandemic struck, and it struck hard. Hundreds of thousands of Australians—a million Australians, indeed—were reduced to zero hours. This was a great devastation for our country.
But we learnt today, from the February data, that there are now more Australians in work than there were when the pandemic began. That is a comeback. That is a great Australian comeback, and we've done it the Australian way. What that means is: it has been the tenacity and the endurance of Australians, who have stayed in jobs and kept jobs open to Australians and have seen themselves through this terrible pandemic and recession. So, today, the 88,700 jobs created in February will take us back across that line—
Honourable members interjecting—
Of those 88,700 jobs, 74,100 jobs—more than 80 per cent of those jobs coming back—were for women. Women keep getting into jobs, young people keep getting into jobs, Australians keep getting into jobs as a result of the comeback from the COVID-19 recession, because this government stood up for jobs. It stood up for Australians, and it backed in the businesses to keep Australians in jobs.
Women's participation has returned to near the pre-COVID record level of 61.4 per cent. We are seeing Australians come back from this crisis. We are seeing Australia lead the world in the return from the COVID pandemic and the recession it caused.
There is more work to do, and there are many parts of this country which still feel, and will for some time yet, the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. That is why we put measures in last year's budget like the tax incentives for Australian businesses to invest, the continued support for key sectors affected by the COVID-19 pandemic and the tax cuts that are supporting individual Australians. I can tell you, in response to what's been said by those opposite, that tax cuts for people in jobs matter, and there are more people in jobs today than before.