House debates

Wednesday, 30 March 2022

Questions without Notice


2:41 pm

Photo of Julian SimmondsJulian Simmonds (Ryan, Liberal National Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is also to the Treasurer. Well he remind the House of the Morrison government's strong record in creating jobs and reducing unemployment, particularly through our investments in skills and apprenticeships, and how this will help secure a stronger future, delivering on our long-term economic plan?

2:42 pm

Photo of Josh FrydenbergJosh Frydenberg (Kooyong, Liberal Party, Treasurer) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for Ryan for his question and acknowledge his experience as a Treasurer himself, at the Brisbane City Council. As the Prime Minister reminds me, he's done more budgets than the Leader of the Opposition. And, by the way, more budgets than the shadow Treasurer as well.

One of the real success stories of Australia's response to the pandemic is the fact that we now see more Australians in work than ever before. There are, in fact, nearly two million more Australians in work than when we came to government. There are 375,000 more Australians in work than at the start of the pandemic. We've seen youth unemployment come down below 10 per cent for the first time in a decade, we have seen female unemployment at its lowest level since 1974, and we have seen the headline unemployment rate get down to its equal lowest level in 48 years, at four per cent. This is not luck; this is the result of an economic plan that has been working: the JobKeeper program that helped save 700,000 jobs; the cash flow boost that helped support small businesses; and the work we did on our aviation industry—we didn't buy an airline like Virgin; we absolutely allowed the private sector to sort that out, and, as a result we now have two strong domestic airlines. But one of the real signs of a strong economy is the increasing number of people taking up a trade apprenticeship, and to see more than 220,000 people in a trade apprenticeship, right now—the highest since records began in 1973—is a sign of a strong and healthy economy. We put in place a 50 per cent wage subsidy, which was really important in giving employees the confidence to keep those workers on. Chippies, plumbers, sparkies—not like Steve Irons!—hairdressers, chefs: apprentices that have been kept on through the crisis and now more apprentices are being kept on. That is a sign of a growing economy, and last night we put $2.8 billion dollars in the budget for further investments in apprentices, which will see $5,000 payments to the apprentices themselves and $15,000 to the employers who take them on, helping to boost the commencement and the completion rates. We are really proud of what the Australian people have achieved throughout this crisis to see us avoid the economic abyss, to see the unemployment rate of four per cent and going even lower. That is a sign of the strong economic recovery that is leading the world.