Monday, 21 June 2021
Questions without Notice
My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Minister Cash. Can the minister please update the Senate on how the Morrison government's economic recovery plan not only is securing our country's economic future but also has ensured that more Australians are in work today than ever before?
I thank Senator Small for the question and, in doing so, acknowledge that he is an employer—he knows what it's like to have sleepless nights and he also knows what it's like to be able to embrace the Morrison government's policies to ensure that he is able to expand his business and employ more staff. The Morrison government's plan for Australia, our economic plan, is giving businesses the confidence they need to employ more Australians, and we saw this last week when the labour force figures for May were handed down.
Senator Watt interjecting—
Only just last week what we saw with the labour force figures being handed down was that unemployment in Australia dropped by 0.4 points to 5.1 per cent. In fact, that is lower than when Labor was last in office. When they were last in office in August 2013, it was 5.8 per cent. We also saw employment figures that well exceeded the market expectations, with 115,000 more Australians in work in the month of May.
What we have also seen is seven months of continuous employment growth and there are now 130,000 more Australians in work than we had prior to COVID-19. We also have record female employment with 6,255,000 females in work across Australia, and we have 97.5 thousand more females employed—more than prior to the pandemic.
We also have record male employment, with 6,870,200 in work across Australia. That's actually 32,900 more males in employment than prior to COVID-19. We've also seen Australians putting up their hands and saying they have confidence in the labour market, with the participation rate rising by 0.3 percentage points to 63.2 per cent. We're putting in place the right economic policies to help businesses employ more Australians.
Again, as Senator Small knows, as a small-business person himself, the Morrison government's economic plan is backing businesses and it's giving them the confidence they need to take on new staff. We know that businesses create jobs—not just government, but businesses. Governments put in place the policy frameworks for businesses to lever off in order to prosper, grow and create more jobs for Australians, which is certainly what we are seeing under our government.
Our expensing measures and our loss-carryback measures are helping businesses to reinvest in themselves. We're backing those businesses that have the capacity to invest in themselves. We're saying to them, 'Invest in your business, grow your business and employ more Australians.' We also see business confidence now at a record high, and we're seeing business investment continuing to grow. This shows that the Morrison government is putting in place the right economic framework, the right economic policies across Australia to help businesses prosper, grow and create more jobs. (Time expired)
Our government is backing Australians to gain, in particular, new skills right across the economy. The Morrison government invested around $7 billion in skills last year to help Australia's pipeline of skilled workers. In this year's budget we have continued our support to back Australians to upskill and reskill. In particular, we have expanded our Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements wage subsidy, providing an additional $2.4 billion, which has now seen more than 157,000 apprentices come on board and find a place in around 60,000 businesses across Australia. That's a good thing—putting in place the right policy incentives so that businesses are able to take on a new apprentice and create new jobs for Australians. We're also expanding access for Australians to free or low-cost training by, again, working with the states and territories and increasing capacity in our JobTrainer fund. (Time expired)