Wednesday, 26 May 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister for Education and Youth. Will the minister update the House on how the Morrison government is supporting young Australians to enter the workforce as we emerge from the pandemic? Is the minister aware of any alternative policies?
I thank the member for Moncrieff for her question. She brings to this parliament experience as a workplace trainer and assessor for the National Retail Association before she came here, working with young people to get them into jobs—so real-life experience of getting young people into work.
Young Australians have every reason to be optimistic under our government, and parents have every reason to be optimistic for the future of their sons and daughters as they go into training, education and work, because, under this government, youth unemployment is now down to a 12-year low. It is a full one percentage point lower than it was in March 2020, before the pandemic hit. So it's just great news for young people to see those youth unemployment figures down so low. The biggest drop in youth unemployment was actually in the member's home state of Queensland, where incredibly, in the last six months alone—
Mr Perrett interjecting—
In the last six months alone, youth unemployment has dropped in Queensland from 18 per cent to just 9.8 per cent, an incredible drop over that six-month period. This has come about because of the solid economic policies which we've put in place but also the opportunities we've been providing in the education and training space. Mr Speaker, you'd be aware that we provided 30,000 extra university places this year and we dropped the fees on those courses which have more likelihood of leading into a job. That's working, so we've got many more people now enrolling in, say, IT courses, engineering courses, physical science courses, because they're the ones that are most likely going to lead into work. Plus, in the training and apprenticeship space, we've also provided so many more opportunities, as the employment and training minister knows—$500 million to deliver an extra 163,000 training places; the extension of the Transition to Work program; and of course the extra 310,000 apprenticeships which are being supported by this government. So it is jobs, it is education opportunities, it is training opportunities, all for those young people.
I am asked about alternatives. I mentioned that we're supporting 39,000 additional students at university. Those opposite, in their budget reply, in their signature policy, in Bill Shorten's old policy: 2,000.