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Friday, 3 December 1976
Page: 3222

Mr Les McMahon (SYDNEY, NEW SOUTH WALES) -Will the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations call an immediate conference comprising representatives of State and local governments and employers' and employees' organisations to discuss as a matter of urgency the development of a scheme to alleviate the cancerous growth of unemployment in Australia particularly among the young people?

Mr STREET - All the conferences in the world will not solve the problem of unemployment. The problem can be solved only by achieving a revitalised Australian economy. Since three out of four jobs in the Australian economy are provided by the private sector it is to that sector we must look to provide the jobs that we need, whether they be for the young people or for the older people who are also out of work. The action which the Government has taken in the last few days in bringing Australia's currency more into Une with those of our major trading partners and restoring the competitive position of Australian industry, particularly the import competing industries and the export industries, will do far more good than all the conferences proposed by the honourable member. The fact is that the Australian cost structure has got so far out of line over the last few years that Australians, instead of exporting goods, have been exporting jobs. That is a plain fact of life, and nothing could be done to correct that so long as the Australian currency remained so far out of line with those of our trading partners. The action taken by the Government is the correct action to take to restore full employment to the Australian economy.

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