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Wednesday, 8 February 2017
Page: 302

Western Australia: Employment

Senator STERLE (Western Australia) (14:51): My question is to the Minister representing the Prime Minister, Senator Brandis. The latest labour force data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics shows that since the Abbott-Turnbull government was elected the unemployment rate in Western Australia has increased by two percentage points, to 6.6 per cent, with an additional 30,400 people without work. Minister, is this an example of the buoyant labour market that you described yesterday?

Senator BRANDIS (QueenslandAttorney-General, Vice-President of the Executive Council and Leader of the Government in the Senate) (14:52): I am not in a position to comment on individual state figures, but I will refer you to the national figures. Over the last 12 months this government has created 91½ thousand jobs. That is four times the rate of job creation than in the last year of the Labor government, when 22,800 jobs were created.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Sterle, a point of order?

Senator Sterle: Mr President, on a point of order on relevance: I specifically asked the minister about Western Australia. I do not need to be lectured to on other parts of Australia. It is clearly Western Australia. If you do not know, take it on notice.

The PRESIDENT: Thank you, Senator Sterle. The minister said upfront in his answer that he could not break down the individual states; he could only give you national figures. So the minister has, in effect, answered the question. Minister.

Senator BRANDIS: So, Senator Sterle, Western Australian jobs are part of the national jobs figures. The point I made yesterday and the point I would make to you again is that the rate of job creation under this government in 2016 is slightly more than four times greater than the rate of job creation under the last year of the Labor government. Rather than take it from me, Senator Sterle, perhaps you may have seen this morning, reported in the financial press, the monetary policy statement by the Governor of the Reserve Bank, Dr Philip Lowe. This is what Dr Philip Lowe, the Governor of the Reserve Bank, had to say about labour market conditions:

Labour market indicators continue to be mixed and there is considerable variation in employment outcomes across the country. The unemployment rate has moved a little higher recently, but growth in full-time employment turned positive late in 2016. The forward-looking indicators point to continued expansion in employment over the period ahead.

So the view that I expressed yesterday, coincidentally, was the same view as that expressed by the Governor of the Reserve Bank. (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator Sterle, a supplementary question.