Thursday, 25 September 2014
Questions without Notice
I thank Senator McKenzie for her interest in matters employment and in matters agriculture. I am pleased to inform the Senate that the latest ABS employment data has revealed the biggest annual gain in agriculture jobs on record—might I add, at a time when the Leader of the Opposition is going around the country demeaning agriculture jobs. We are absolutely delighted as a government to see this growth—some 39,800 positions in the year to August 2014. That, Senator McKenzie, represents 15 per cent out of the total 253,000 new jobs added across all sectors. This is a most remarkable outcome because it goes against the longer term historic trend of gradual decline in agriculture employment levels compared to the growth of output, from a peak of up to 400,000 employed in the 1980s down to around 245,000 by August 2013. But now there has been a welcome resurgence that has seen agriculture employment up to over 280,000 again, and of course that coincides with the coalition coming to government.
We as a government are delighted to see the resurgence in one very important pillar of the Australian economy, namely agriculture. It stands to reason that somebody with Senator McKenzie's interest and coming from the National Party should be expressing such a real interest. In the five seconds remaining, what a contrast between Senator McKenzie and Senator Conroy. (Time expired)