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Wednesday, 13 February 2013
Page: 1200


Mr HAYES (Fowler) (15:08): My question is to the Minister for Early Childhood and Childcare and Minister for Employment Participation. Will the minister update the House on how the government is implementing targeted policies for working people and job seekers to support economic growth?

Ms KATE ELLIS (AdelaideMinister for Employment Participation and Minister for Early Childhood and Childcare) (15:09): I thank the member for Fowler and acknowledge his strong advocacy for both jobs and particularly jobs expos in his area. I know that, like I am, he is proud of the over 850,000 jobs that have been created since we came to government. We are proud that we took the strong action, that we avoided recession and that we still stand with a low unemployment rate in stark contrast to much of the world. But, mostly, we are proud because we know that through real policies, real investments and real actions we are ensuring that more Australians get the benefits of work as a result of all of these policies. We know that working parents need affordable childcare solutions in order to be able to fully participate in the labour market. That is why we delivered a tripling of the budget that goes to the sector. That is why we increased the childcare rebate from 30 per cent to 50 per cent, massively reducing the percentage of disposable income which is going on childcare fees across every income level. That is why we funded a 42 per cent increase in the number of childcare services across Australia.

In contrast to these real actions, those opposite do not have a single childcare policy, except that they will do a review after the election and place into question the quantum of funding that will go to the sector into the future. We know that there are some parts of Australia that are not sharing equally in our prosperity, and whilst those opposite offer no policies, no solutions, we are working at the grassroots to deliver real programs to those most in need. We have held jobs expos right around the country in the areas that need it the most and through those expos we have already placed over 24,000 Australians back into jobs, and we have another 11 expos yet to go this year.

We placed local employment coordinators on the ground in the 20 areas where help is needed the most, delivering real local solutions and real local policies, and we are also working to ensure that no groups of Australians are sidelined from our employment market. On this side we have heard from mature-aged Australians who feel like they have been disregarded, that they had been unappreciated and that they have been shut out of the labour market be too long. We have heard from them and we have responded with real action and $55 million in new programs that have already assisted over 10,000 older Australians. We have taken real action. Those opposite have labelled it as window-dressing, offered nothing positive, no policy and no solutions. We know that jobs have been central to this government and we are proud of what we have delivered. We know that the sound bites and the negativity that those opposite offer will do nothing to deliver any such results. This is because our hard work, our real policies and our real investment, and Australians deserve absolutely nothing less.

Ms Gillard: I feel somewhat bad now, Madam Speaker, but it being past ten past three I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.