Wednesday, 23 June 2021
Questions without Notice
Can I add that I did stay home and raise my children for four years, and they were the happiest days of my life being a stay-at-home parent. My question is to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment, Workforce, Skills, Small and Family Business, Senator Cash. Can the minister update the Senate on how the Morrison government's economic plan is delivering new jobs across Australia?
I thank Senator Rennick for what is a fantastic question to take us home on this Wednesday at question time. In the first instance, I acknowledge Mayor David Goode from the City of Gosnells in our home state of Western Australia, for the Western Australian senators. He is someone who has been self-employed his entire life and absolutely believes in the value of good economic policy. It is great to see you here today, Mayor David Goode.
The Morrison government's economic policies are seeing our economy rebound from what was a devastating 2020, with the COVID 19 pandemic. Just last month, in May, what we saw because of the economic policies we are putting in place was that the unemployment level in Australia fell to 5.1 per cent. That exceeded all market expectations. That didn't happen by accident. It happened because the businesses out there—the small businesses, medium businesses and large businesses—were able to lever off the policies that the Morrison government has put in place so as to prosper, grow and create more jobs for Australians. That is what we are now seeing. We now have around 130,000 more Australians in work than we did prior to when COVID-19 hit Australia. That is showing that the Morrison government's economic policy is working.
We also know that the recovery plan that we are putting in place is putting confidence into Australians, who are putting up their hands and saying, 'I'm ready, willing and able to work.' We saw also in the month of May that the participation rate increased by 0.3 per cent to 66.2 per cent. So what we're seeing is that unemployment is now down to the lowest level since 2014. There's still more work to do, but the policies that we are putting in place are having a positive effect on the economy.
Lower taxes are in the DNA of those on the coalition side of parliament. If you recall the last election, colleagues, $387 billion in taxes on the Australian people was promised by the Labor Party. The Labor Party made a promise of $387 billion in additional taxes to the Australian people at the last election. All I can say is thank goodness the Australian people put their trust and their faith in the coalition government, because COVID-19 hit. Can you honestly imagine, colleagues, if those opposite had been elected to office and had imposed an additional $387 billion in taxes on the Australian people? It would have absolutely crippled businesses across Australia, particularly small and family businesses, and then they would have been hit with the COVID-19 pandemic. Lowering taxes, whether it's for business or for Australians, is in our DNA.
The Morrison government is all about opportunity for Australians. That is reflected in the employment figures for the month of May, when we saw employment absolutely exceed the creation of market expectations. In vocational education and training, in the skills part of the portfolio, we have provided an additional $2.7 billion to extend the Boosting Apprenticeship Commencements subsidy. We want to see another 170,000 new apprentices and trainees brought onboard by Australian businesses. We have extended that policy until March 2022 because we understand that businesses out there need our assistance, and this is a way of assisting them to bring a new apprentice or a new trainee into their business. Encouragingly, we've seen since we announced this policy that 157,700 new apprentices, colleagues, have been brought on—new apprentices, 157,700 have been brought on. (Time expired)