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Wednesday, 16 August 2017
Page: 5850


Senator HANSON-YOUNG (South Australia) (16:24): I rise to add my voice to this motion as moved by Senator Xenophon today. What an important issue this is for those of us who live in South Australia. Our state has the highest unemployment rate in the country, and youth unemployment is even higher than the average unemployment rate.

We know that jobs in our state are absolutely critical and we know we need a proper jobs plan for South Australia. However, all we seem to get from this federal government are more cuts and broken promises, and ministers who fly in and have a go at our great state, a bit of a laugh at our expense. We have seen that from the Prime Minister. We have seen that from the Treasurer. We have seen that from the Deputy Prime Minister. The list goes on and on and on. Oh, and let's not forget the Minister for Resources and Energy: he had a good laugh, didn't he, at South Australia's expense? He did nothing to create more jobs for our state but decided to make himself a bit of a comedian by having a good old crack. South Australians are sick of it. We're absolutely sick and tired of this federal government kicking our state, kicking our workers and doing nothing to help when it comes to the jobs crisis in South Australia, at a time when industries are doing their best to get themselves on their feet to re-power our great South Australian economy.

We know that the attacks come in the form of attacks on the renewable energy industry, and all the jobs currently being created and continue to be created for our state. We know all about the false hope given when the federal government said that it would save the jobs at the Whyalla steelworks by doing a deal with the dodgy, corrupt, fraudulent company Adani. We know that those jobs were never going to eventuate. We now hear today that this company is in trouble for fraud charges. The federal government wants to give a billion-dollar open cheque from the Australian taxpayer out of the Northern Australia Infrastructure Fund to Adani, and South Australians should be happy that we were given a false promise that that would help save the steelworks in Whyalla—false hope, nastiness and broken promises. We know the government left the Holden workers hanging out to dry and did very little to help them transition. Holden closes in October and then what? I guess we'll have someone from the frontbench of the Turnbull government fly in and have a good crack on the first day that those workers are left without a job to go to.

Today we hear that the jobs that were promised for the Adelaide shipyards in the frigate contracts are not even guaranteed. What on earth is the point of spending all of this taxpayer money building these things, signing overseas contracts only to then say, 'But you don't have to employ any of the locals that are currently there'? The government and the minister say they can't mandate this: 'It's impossible to mandate this'.

There are plenty of other things that get done by this government. When they want to scratch the backs of their mates, they find a way to do it. When they want to deliver big business tax cuts, they do it. When they want to give a sop to the big banks, they do it. But for the workers down at the shipyard in Adelaide, well, apparently we can't guarantee that they're going to get a job. This is not good enough, Minister Pyne; not good enough, Prime Minister Turnbull. The Greens believe, fundamentally, that if we are to move forward with these contracts, if we are going to spend this money building these frigates, then there should be a local employment target. We should have a guarantee that South Australians will get jobs out of this and that those jobs will stay in our state.

Just to add more salt to the wound, we know that the government has cut a deal with One Nation in the last 24 hours to make cuts to the ABC. How many jobs does that mean we will be losing from our state, either in our regional areas or, indeed, in the Collinswood studios in Adelaide?

How many jobs are going to be lost at Adelaide's ABC, because of the deal that this government has done with One Nation?

We're sick and tired in South Australia of the federal government, the Prime Minister and his ministers, flying in, having a good kick at our state and doing nothing to help us lift the jobs numbers in our state and get young people, in particular, employed.