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Thursday, 25 June 1998
Page: 5426

Ms JEANES —My question is addressed to the Treasurer. Can the Treasurer inform the House of the results of the ABS's May survey of job vacancies? What does it indicate about the outlook for job creation this year in Kingston and across Australia?

Mr COSTELLO (Treasurer) —I thank the honourable member for Kingston for her question and can inform the House that there was a strong rise in ABS job vacancies in the June quarter following strong rises in the previous two quarters and supporting a strong outlook for firm employment growth for Australia generally and, I am sure, for Kingston as well. Job vacancies rose 8.8 per cent over the three months to May, well above market expectations, which were for a fall of 3.5 per cent.

Total job vacancies are at their highest level in the history of the series, 28 per cent higher than a year ago in seasonally adjusted terms. This has been led by strong vacancies in the private sector, with private sector vacancies also at their highest level in the series, 32 per cent higher than a year ago. The trend measure of job vacancies also rose strongly, the eleventh consecutive quarterly increase. The other major job vacancies series remains supportive of solid employment growth in the coming months, with both DEETYA and ANZ around their highest levels in the last three years.

I should say that, when you are talking about employment growth and creating the right conditions for employment growth, it is important that you lock in low inflation, as this government has. It is important that you have a good interest rate regime, which this government has. Supportive of that is a strong budget position, which the government has also taken steps to address. We would not have had the low interest rates for home buyers in Kingston if we had not been able to address the Labor Party's $10 billion deficit.

I would also say that it is important that we continue to look at labour market reforms such as the unfair dismissal laws that the minister for industrial relations has introduced, because the less the burden in relation to employment and the less the drag on employers creating jobs, the greater the opportunity for creating more jobs, and that is good news for more Australians.