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Tuesday, 11 September 2012
Page: 10191


Mr STEPHEN JONES (Throsby) (15:03): My question is to the Minister for Employment Participation and Minister for Early Childhood and Childcare. Would the minister update the House on how the government's jobs and skills expos are helping to get more Australians into jobs? Could the minister tell us about any future jobs and skills expos the government is planning to hold?

Ms KATE ELLIS (AdelaideMinister for Employment Participation and Minister for Early Childhood and Childcare) (15:04): I thank the member for Throsby for his question. I am delighted to inform the House that I am very much looking forward to working with him in Shellharbour in just a couple of weeks on the government's 59th jobs and skills expo. But also I stand here, like the member for Throsby, so incredibly proud of this government's record when it comes to jobs. I am proud that over 800,000 jobs have been created since we came to government. I am incredibly proud that we were prepared to stand up and protect jobs during the GFC whilst those opposite were busy sleeping. I am incredibly proud that we see an unemployment rate in this country at just 5.1 per cent, which is the envy of much of the rest of the world.

But this government are not prepared to just step back. We know that there are some communities that are being left behind, and we want to make sure that all Australians share in the prosperity that we have on offer. That is why we have set up our jobs and skills expos. That is why we have now, after one last week in Kwinana with the Special Minister of State, had 58 of these expos around the country. I can tell you that they work. I can tell you that because we now have over 21,000 Australians who have been placed in jobs as a result of attending one of our jobs and skills expos.

Sadly, not every government shares our commitment to employment though. Not every government does. You can imagine my shock when I arrived in Townsville for their local jobs and skills expo to work hard with the government to place 500 people in jobs to find out that Campbell Newman had just announced 400 local job losses for Townsville. We are working to help people into jobs locally; they are working to turf them out.

We know that families right across Queensland, beyond just Townsville, have been confronted with terrible local news. In fact, the front page of the North West Star in Mount Isa yesterday read: '2,754 jobs to go. Mount Isa staff fear for their future as the Newman government slashes jobs.' The Sunshine Coast Daily's front page yesterday read: 'Job seekers giving up on ever finding work.' We know that they are not content to just cut jobs. In fact, they are cutting the programs which help support people get back into work. In the budget today, the LNP government have confirmed $287 million in cuts, axing the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program.

We can see a very clear contrast here. We are continuing to work to support Australians to work, to share in the benefits and the dignity that comes with employment. We have seen in crystal clear form right across Queensland just exactly what we would see if this Leader of the Opposition were ever to become Prime Minister.

Mr Swan: I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.

Mr Pyne: Madam Deputy Speaker, we have had this issue arise before and in fact the Leader of the House admitted that I was correct on the previous occasion that question time finishes at 10 past three, under standing order 34, figure 2. In fact, the Leader of the House might regret it now, but he stood up after that debate last time, when the Speaker said I was incorrect, and said that actually I was correct, and that matter was cleared up. Therefore, I have a question.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER ( Ms AE Burke ): The Manager of Opposition Business has a question to me?

Mr Pyne: To the Acting Prime Minister. I refer the Treasurer to the decision by—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: No, the Manager of Opposition Business will resume his seat. I thought he had a question to me—my apologies.

Mr Albanese: With regard to the point of order raised by the Manager of Opposition Business, that was in fact him suggesting that we could go after 10 past three. We cannot go after 10 past three; we can go before 10 past three when their nine questions are asked. They have had their nine questions. They continually talk about how they get nine questions every day. They have had them. If they had 100 questions, the member for Wentworth would not get one.

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: The Leader of the House will resume his seat.

Mr Albanese: Give him a freebie!

The DEPUTY SPEAKER: I might give you a freebie in a minute if you are not careful!