House debates

Thursday, 24 June 2021

Questions without Notice

Economy, Employment

3:00 pm

Photo of Tim WilsonTim Wilson (Goldstein, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Minister for Industry, Science and Technology. Will the minister update the House on how the Morrison government's economic recovery plan is working to support Australia's businesses, particularly our mighty manufacturers, to create jobs and grow the economy?

3:01 pm

Photo of Christian PorterChristian Porter (Pearce, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Goldstein for his question and acknowledge his great support for manufacturing. I acknowledge that there are 3,600 people employed in manufacturing in his electorate of Goldstein, and we've discussed with the member some of those manufacturers. One of those great manufacturers is OmegaPharm, which is a hundred per cent owned and operated pharmaceutical company, which I think is emblematic of the types of great manufacturers we have in this country. They're producing hospital-specific niche pharmaceutical products—oncology, pain management and dermatology. They're one of our great Australian manufacturers from the member's electorate.

I'd like to inform the House that today the ABS produced its detailed labour force figures for the May 2021 quarter—and they of course break down for manufacturing—and they revealed some absolutely exceptional and very, very good news for the manufacturing sector. That good news is that, for that May 2021 quarter, manufacturing employment in Australia increased by 11,000 people. Total manufacturing employment in Australia has now grown to 908,200 people. In May 2019 that figure was 898,000 people. When you look at the May 2019 quarter—so pre-COVID—and the May 2021 quarter, post-COVID, you see there are now more people employed in manufacturing in the post-COVID quarter than in the pre-COVID quarter in 2019. There is not a country on earth that would not want to be able to say that there are more people employed in manufacturing in the May 2021, post-COVID, quarter than the May 2019, pre-COVID, quarter. That is a remarkable achievement, and our government is very proud of the fact that our great Australian manufacturers, assisted by wonderful policies like JobKeeper, have been able, throughout COVID, to keep manufacturing, creating and growing jobs, and taking advantage of new export opportunities.

We saw just last week, with the announcement of the Australia-UK free trade agreement, how important those export manufacturing opportunities are to growing our manufacturing sector. And part of all of this growth has been the Australian government's $1.5 billion Modern Manufacturing Strategy, across the six manufacturing initiatives, and other great projects, like the $600 million Entrepreneurs' Program, which has helped 20,000 businesses innovate and commercialise. When we look at the way that project has helped these businesses, we see that of the 20,000 businesses, on average, each of the businesses that have had the Entrepreneurs' Program has generated an extra $1.5 million extra turnover, and each of those businesses has created four new jobs. So we are now in better shape post-COVID than pre-COVID— (Time expired)