Thursday, 17 February 2022
Questions without Notice
I thank the member for Lindsay, who is seeing the strong resurgence of our economy through the pandemic, in Western Sydney in particular. The risks to our economic and national security are, of course, increasing with the uncertainties we're seeing all around the world. I had the opportunity to speak to the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, this morning, and this is one of the many issues we discussed, particularly in relation to Ukraine.
But a strong economy means a stronger future for Australians. As we've been coming through this pandemic with one of the strongest advanced economies in the world, that gives us great optimism for the year ahead. I welcome the decision made by the premiers in New South Wales and Victoria today, a further sign that Australia is pushing through and coming out the other side in relation to this pandemic.
But a strong economy as we come through this pandemic into the future depends on strong financial management and a strong economic plan. That strong financial management has been demonstrated in Australia retaining our AAA credit rating—one of only nine countries around the world, from all the key ratings agencies, to be able to maintain that strong record of financial management, despite the incredible pressures of this pandemic.
And our strong economic plan is delivering on the ground. It is a plan that is cutting taxes and lowering regulation and cutting red tape to drive investment. It is a plan that is ensuring that we are investing in the infrastructure and the skills development that has seen the highest level of trade apprentices and trade trainees today—220,000—than at any other time since the Leader of the Opposition was born in 1963. We are working to deliver reliable, affordable energy, despite the pressures, with sensible and balanced targets for emissions reduction and investing in a gas-fired recovery to keep electricity prices down. Our data and digital plan will see us become a top-10 digital and data economy by the year 2030. And our plan for sustainable and advanced manufacturing with sovereign capability is delivering on the ground through our Modern Manufacturing Initiative.
Today, there were 12,900 more jobs in the month of January. There is the highest level of Australians of working-age employment in Australia's recorded history, at 76.3 per cent. The unemployment rate for women has fallen to four per cent, the lowest number since monthly records began in 1978. Under our government, there are a million more women in work than there were before we came to government. The unemployment rate is at 4.2 per cent and it's heading to below four per cent. Youth unemployment is at nine per cent, a fall again. That is down from 12.7 per cent when those opposite last sat on the Treasury benches. Jobs, jobs, jobs— (Time expired)