Senate debates

Tuesday, 22 November 2022


Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Workforce Incentive) Bill 2022; In Committee

7:01 pm

Photo of Tim AyresTim Ayres (NSW, Australian Labor Party, Assistant Minister for Trade) Share this | Hansard source

I'm grateful to the opposition for dealing with them cognately, but they don't really stack up singly or together. They aren't affordable. They won't incentivise older Australians to take up work in the immediate term where the workplace shortages they claim to be concerned about are. After a decade of mismanagement in this area, with a trillion dollars in debt and very little to show for it, these guys want to double the incentive. That is not a serious proposition. It's not supported by anybody serious out there in industry. We can't sustain it as we go about a focused approach on sustainable budget repair.

The former government used social services as a political football and had a new minister in social services about every 12 months. They didn't take social services seriously, either. The idea that the new opposition can claim to have an interest in labour shortages, after a decade of policy failure in this area—of falling productivity, falling wages, falling capital expenditure and the remarkable achievement of an enormous reduction in temporary labour—and the idea that they'd come here today proposing to double the incentive, are pretty extraordinary. The government urges the Senate to oppose the amendments.


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