Thursday, 3 September 2020
Questions without Notice
My question's to the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Cash. Can the minister update the Senate on how the Morrison government is working to get Australians back into jobs and on the road to economic recovery?
I thank Senator Antic for the question. As we all know, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on Australia, on Australians and on the global economy, and it has seen Australia fall into recession. But the Morrison government moved decisively, as Minister Ruston articulated, earlier this year to stop the spread of COVID-19, protecting the health of Australians. We also moved decisively to protect the livelihood of Australians through our measures, such as JobKeeper, which is keeping that really important connection between around 3.5 million Australians, as employees, and their employers.
Nearly all Australians have had their lives impacted in some way or another by COVID-19. In particular, it is still having a significant impact on certain sectors of Australia, and in that regard I note what is occurring in Victoria, where so many are still subject to very strict lockdown measures. But as large parts of our economy begin to reopen in the coming months, the government is focused on getting Australians back into work. Our JobMaker plan will return Australians to work and help Australia's economy return to growth. Every minister, every department, led by the Prime Minister from the top—we are working to put job creation front and centre of everything we do. We have a long-term plan for Australians, unlike those opposite. All they have is frivolous comments. Our long-term plan to get Australians back into work will chart the way forward for a new generation of economic success.
We will continue to build on this plan. We'll undertake that important skills reform that I've referred to—the industrial relations reform, removing unnecessary red tape and of course delivering a record infrastructure spend—because, as we all know, when you invest in infrastructure you create jobs. And we are locking in affordable and reliable energy, boosting our manufacturing capability and, as Senator Birmingham well knows, opening new export markets to create even more opportunities and jobs. (Time expired)
I do remind those on this side of the chamber of the promise that those opposite took to the last election for the Australian people: $387 billion in new taxes. You can only imagine the position that Australians would now be in if those opposite had been able to legislate $387 billion in new taxes. And you know what the irony is? Those opposite stand here and say they are the friends of small and family businesses. The last thing those businesses need is more taxes, which is exactly what those opposite had promised them, and perhaps that's why they didn't vote for them.
We entered COVID-19 from a position of economic strength and record employment. In fact, the employment figures in March 2020 showed that employment in Australia was actually at a record high, in excess of 13 million people. That is why we continue to focus on job creation, the front and centre of our policy.
Despite the devastating impact that COVID-19 has had on our economy, the ABS labour force figures for the month of June and July actually demonstrate the ongoing resilience of employers out there and the ongoing resilience of the Australian labour market. In fact, during June and July, as we know, we actually saw the reopening of many parts of the Australian economy. A direct correlation with the easing of restrictions is the movement of people back into work. In those two months, we saw the economy create 340,000 jobs. In fact, in July alone, full-time employment increased by 43,500, and part-time employment rose by 71,200.
As Senator Payne knows, this includes almost 60,000 jobs for women in July and almost 56,000 jobs for young people. That is why we are focused on job-creating policies and putting in place those economic conditions that businesses can lever off, creating more jobs for— (Time expired)