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Tuesday, 18 March 2014
Page: 2316

Ms HENDERSON (Corangamite) (19:04): I rise to speak on the Social Security Amendment (Increased Employment Participation) Bill 2014, in continuation. Before I pick up from where I left off last night, I want to note that this is a bill about jobs and the initiatives our government is taking in relation to jobs and in developing long-term jobs. We have just heard from the member for Grayndler, and it is with considerable disappointment that I reflect on the decision by the member for Grayndler, when he was the Minister for Infrastructure and Transport back in 2008, to decline permission for AirAsia X to fly into Avalon Airport. This is a wonderful regional airport—an airport that has great potential and is a home base for Jetstar. We heard the member for Grayndler talking about looking back with regret about decisions that were short-sighted. And let me say that that was a regrettable and incredibly short-sighted decision, and it has set Avalon back by a number of years. As a government we are now working very hard to support Avalon Airport as it looks to transition into a strong regional and international airport.

The relocation assistance to take up a job program, which I was referring to, gives people a great opportunity to go where the work is. It is one thing to say, 'Look, there's a great job there', but it is quite another thing to get there; often it involves considerable costs. So I am very proud that this particular program is an important part of our plank to promote workforce participation. It encourages job seekers to move to areas where jobs are available, and there is a particular focus in the regions, which is wonderful to see. In my region of Corangamite and across the Geelong region we have many great opportunities. Yes, we do have some challenges, but as a government we are working very hard to create new opportunities to bring new and emerging industries into our region. And I am really hoping that, if this bill is passed, many people will take up this opportunity to come and live in the great electorate of Corangamite and the great city of Geelong. The program will offer some very important financial support, including up to $6,000 available to support eligible job seekers who relocate to a regional area. Another $3,000 will be available to support eligible job seekers who relocate to a metropolitan area from a regional area to take up a job.

This is all part of a very strong plan for jobs, of our pursuit of building a strong and prosperous economy. What we are doing is scrapping the job-destroying carbon tax and we are scrapping the mining tax. Members on the other side are opposing that of course, which is very destructive in terms of jobs and our economy. We are working on re-establishing the rule of law by reintroducing the Australian Building and Construction Commission. We are building the roads of the 21st Century, the infrastructure of the 21st Century, and we are fighting night and day for jobs.