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Tuesday, 18 March 2014
Page: 2272


Dr HENDY (Eden-Monaro) (15:39): I must admit, with no disrespect to the speaker who just finished and who I think talked very coherently and measuredly, that the gall of the Labor Party to put this MPI forward beggars belief. It never surprises me what they are up to. Look at this matter of public importance: the government's failure to properly invest in Australian skills training and education and its impact on Australian jobs. I did not hear a fact or a figure from the other side. I heard a lot of empty rhetoric. I am going to give you a few facts and figures.

You were talking about the impact of unemployment on Australians jobs. What happened over the last six years? When you guys came into office, the unemployment rate was four per cent. It is now six per cent. The fact is that Treasury forecast that at the end of your term it would go to 6.25 per cent—that is a 200,000 jobs net increase over what it was. Two hundred thousand jobs have been lost under Labor over the last six years. That is your record. The Leader of the Opposition was an employment minister in the last government. During his watch, the unemployed rate, the number of jobs that were lost, went up 80,000. That is his record.

You guys talked about manufacturing. How many jobs were lost in manufacturing under your watch? A discrete 129,000 jobs were lost under you. So the fact is that you guys have decimated the small business community and the manufacturing community. In small business, it is lucky that some jobs were created in other parts of the economy because 412,000 jobs were lost in small business under the Labor government in six years. That is shameful. Small business, which is the engine of our economy, has been hit. Rather than the 53 per cent of the employed workforce it was employing in 2007 when you got in, it is now 43 per cent—a 10 per cent drop. There are 3,000 fewer small businesses employing people. That is the employment record of you guys. It is just disgraceful when you consider a couple more statistics.

The number of long-term unemployed—that is, unemployed for more than 52 weeks or a year—nearly doubled and went from 69,800 in November 2007 to 135,400 in September 2013. That happened under you guys. The youth unemployment rate—that is, persons aged 15 to 19 and looking for full-time work—went from 19.6 per cent in November 2007 to 27.3 per cent in September 2013. That is an extraordinary result.

You should be ashamed to put a motion into the parliament today to talk about the government and its jobs program. We are fixing the problem you guys created. As a former CEO of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, I spent a lot of my time on skills and training. In 2007 we produced a report, a blueprint in fact, called Skills for a nation: a blueprint for improving education and training. I think the coalition has picked up a lot of the points that the ACCI put forward in that comprehensive blueprint and is now starting to implement that.

Opposition members interjecting

Dr HENDY: I will give you an example. The fact is that Labor made $2.8 billion of cuts to universities, which they announced last April. (Time expired)