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Wednesday, 13 March 2013
Page: 1912


Mr CHEESEMAN (Corangamite) (14:11): My question is to the Minister for Industry and Innovation. What progress has been made in implementing the government's plans to support jobs in Australia; and how is the government dealing with any difficulties in these plans?

Mr COMBET (CharltonMinister for Industry and Innovation and Minister for Climate Change and Energy Efficiency) (14:12): I thank the member for Corangamite, because supporting and creating jobs is the key priority of Labor in government. Since we came to power in 2007, 800,000 jobs have been created. Given the prolonged period of the global financial crisis, that is a truly remarkable achievement in our economy. The economy is growing at 3.1 per cent, inflation is contained, unemployment is only at 5.4 per cent, there is a new measure of stronger consumer confidence that is out today, and there is a massive pipeline of private sector investment. The economic circumstances are strong under this government's management.

But of course there are some parts of the economy that are feeling some pressures from the effect of the high value of the Australian dollar and other structural changes, and that is why the government takes action to support and create jobs. That is why we have put in place a $5.4 billion new car plan, supporting 250,000 jobs related to the automotive sector. That is why we have provided support to Vodafone, which is bringing 750 jobs back from India to Tasmania—very important for the Tasmanian economy. And that is why the government is investing $1 billion also to grow jobs through our Plan for Australian Jobs announced just several weeks ago. That plan is in three parts. Firstly, it backs Australian businesses to win more work from large projects in our economy worth more than $500 million in areas like mining and other parts of the economy like infrastructure. Secondly, the plan sets up industry innovation precincts which will drive the innovation and investment that is needed to win new business in export markets. It will bring together the best minds in our research sector with businesses that have the capability and innovative drive to create jobs that are in export focused industries. Thirdly, the plan helps small- and medium-sized businesses to grow and create new jobs. That is the heartland of job creation.

It is a comprehensive package that resulted from extensive consultation with industry, has been supported by industry, has been led by industry with the government—and the Australian Industry Group in the manufacturing sector of course has been a key part of that. But there are definitely impediments to these plans and definitely impediments to the creation of jobs in the Australian economy. Those impediments sit on the other side of the chamber. No-one loves it more when a business unfortunately announces some job losses than those on the other side. They are straight out there gloating about the loss of jobs. They never say anything when a coalition state government starts axing thousands of jobs, but they get right out there when business has to lay someone off. They will not support jobs in the Australian economy, but this government will. (Time expired)