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Source: Australian Ministers for Employment Skills and Small Business

Friday 21 February 2020

Transcript
  • Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

E&OE

Subject/s:  ABS Labour Force figures, Moreton Bay Jobs Fair

MINISTER CASH: It’s fantastic to be here today at the Morayfield Sports and Events Centre for our fantastic Jobs Fair. I’m joined by Terry Young, the member for Longman, and, of course, Luke Howarth, the member for Petrie, and my very good friend and colleague, Senator James McGrath, Senator for Queensland.

We’re here today because the Morrison Government is all about jobs, connecting people who are looking for work with local employers. I’m really pleased that we have over 700 jobs on offer today with almost 40 exhibitors here talking to potential employees that they need.

And, of course, today’s Jobs Fair coincides with the release of the labour force figures for January.

The Government is pleased that what we have seen with these figures is the creation, in January, of over 46,000 full-time jobs. We now have a record number of Australians, just under 13 million, in work. We also have a record number of Australians in full-time work.

The unemployment rate has ticked up from 5.1 per cent to 5.3 per cent. But, as many would know, this is on the back of an increase in the participation rate. What does that mean? It means Australians are out there, they are putting up their hand. They are saying that they have confidence in the jobs market and that they are ready, willing and able to work.

And I think being here today with my colleagues in Queensland, and seeing the people coming through the door. In fact, within the first hour and a half, we had had over 1,100 people walk through the door, people who are looking for work.

So, we welcome today’s figures and in particular the fact that we do have a record number of Australians in jobs, just under 13 million, a record number of Australians in full-time work, the creation of over 46,000 full-time positions in January and, of course, an increase in the participation rate. Australians are ready, willing and able and they’re out there looking for work.

If I could now ask Terry Young, the member for Longman, to say a few words. Terry.

TERRY YOUNG MP: Thanks, Minister. Well, it’s great to be here, and we’ve had almost 2,000 people through the doors already looking for full-time work and part-time work. I’ve got to say the response has been tremendous. People in this area want a job.

So, our job as a Government is to make sure that we provide the pathways and the opportunities to do that, and that’s what the Job Fair is about. 700 jobs on offer here today. I want to thank the Minister and the Government for their commitment to making sure as many Australians are employed as is possible.

MINISTER CASH: Fantastic. Luke.

LUKE HOWARTH MP: Yeah, thanks, Minister. Thanks to Terry Young and yourself for putting on this forum. In speaking to a lot of people here today, young and old, who are all looking for work. They’re really excited about the opportunity to connect with employers, which is so important, to listen to employers about what they want when hiring. We know that employers want people with a great attitude, they want people who are drug and alcohol free, and they want people who care about their work. So, this jobs forum put on by the Morrison Government and the member for Longman is just such a great opportunity for people in Longman, Petrie and the wider community.

MINISTER CASH: Absolutely, we also have a number of other services available. So, if you come here today and you need your resume updated, we can assist you with doing that. If you need to take over undertake a practice interview, we can assist you with doing that. If you’re thinking about opening your own business, there are a number of government services that are there to assist you. If you’d like to explore a job in the Australian Defence Force, we have the Australian Defence Force represented here today.

The Morrison Government, is all about getting people who want to work into work and, as our Prime Minister says, we are a job-creating Government. Since we were elected, over now 1.5 million jobs have been created, and in the last 12 months alone almost 60 per cent of the jobs created have been full-time jobs. Are there any questions?

JOURNALIST: Minister, are you concerned that the underemployment rate here has jumped to 8.6 per cent?

MINISTER CASH: Well, again you need to look at the creation of full-time jobs and again we have record full-time employment in Australia. Against market expectations in January, we saw the economy create in excess of 46,000 full-time jobs. So, when you look at the creation of full-time work, the economy is certainly doing that.

JOURNALIST: The Reserve Bank wants to see the unemployment rate at 4.5 per cent. Do you concede it’s a long way off considering it’s now at 5.3 per cent?

MINISTER CASH: The Government will do everything it can to get as many people off welfare and into work as possible. Certainly with a record number of Australians in employment, with the participation rate ticking up this month, with a record number of people in full-time work, this is a job-creating government.

We have set ourselves a further target to create even more jobs, and we recognise governments themselves don’t actually create jobs, employers do. What we do is put in place the policy framework that employers can lever off of to prosper, grow and create more jobs for Australians. Certainly, employment in Australia at 1.9 per cent growth, that is above the decade average. So, as a Government we are certainly putting in place the policies that are allowing job growth.

JOURNALIST: Specifically in Queensland today, sadly we’ve got a title that we’d probably would not like to hold on to – highest unemployment in the country. What would you say to say Queenslanders who see that figure? I mean, despite the fact the participation rate’s up, the average Joe who looks at these figures it’s probably not good news.

MINISTER CASH: I have to say it is very, very disappointing from the Queensland Government perspective. I mean, the Federal Government in particular has made a massive investment in infrastructure in Queensland. Since we were elected to Government, it is now a commitment of over $25 billion.

The creation of infrastructure creates jobs, and it really is time for the Palaszczuk Government, quite frankly, to start bringing online more infrastructure projects. But I might ask my Queensland colleagues if they’d like to address this.

TERRY YOUNG MP: Yeah, definitely. Thanks, Michaelia. There’s a project on the Bruce Highway, for example, that’s a duplication of the Boundary Road overpass. It was approved when Scott Morrison was the Treasurer in 2017 and yet not a piece of dirt has been turned. Now, this is ridiculous. We’re talking about jobs. It’s a $150 million project, of which the Federal Government has committed and budgeted $120 million towards. So, come on, let’s get it going and let’s get people out there working.

LUKE HOWARTH MP: And it’s not just items like the Deception Bay overpass. There’s a number of other items locally here in Petrie and Longman that we’re waiting on the State Government, with transport and main roads to build. Overpasses like the Linkfield Road overpass as well as the Gateway Motorway between Bracken Ridge and Bald Hills.

This is important road infrastructure, as Terry just, said that was announced three years ago in some cases. The State Labor Government, the Palaszczuk Government, haven’t even started to turn a sod on. At over 6 per cent here in Queensland, the Palaszczuk Labor Government really need to pull their weight and do more. They need to get things built and started.

As the Assistant Minister for Community Housing, we need more social housing, more community housing built. We know that the community housing organisations here in Queensland are busting at the bit to get going. So, there’s a number of infrastructure projects that Minister Trad could fund in the May budget rather than worrying about buying their own houses on the Cross River Rail. She should be worried about funding more social houses, more overpasses, more infrastructure here in Queensland.

We need more dams. You know, we’ve just had massive rain here and all the Palaszczuk Government is interested in doing is pulling down dams, Paradise Dam being one of them. Don’t pull it down, fix it up, raise the height and get some infrastructure built here so jobs will flow.

SENATOR MCGRATH: Jackie Trad today has said that the unemployment figures for Queensland are good. How out of touch is Jackie Trad and Premier Palaszczuk? There’s $25 billion that has yet to be spent in Queensland by the Federal Government.

We need Trad and Palaszczuk to get out of bed, get off the toilet and come to the table. Whether it’s money being spent on the highways, infrastructure projects are being held up in Queensland, and to say that the unemployment rate in Queensland is a good news story just shows how out of touch Jackie Trad is.

MINISTER CASH: Thank you all very much.

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