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Transcript of doorstop interview: 1 August 2012: Townsville Jobs and Skills Expo: QLD Government cuts; child care hours and workforce

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Doorstop - Townsville Jobs and Skills Expo: QLD Government cuts; child care hours and workforce

On 5 August 2013 the government assumed a Caretaker role, with an election to be held 7 September 2013.

Media releases, transcripts and speeches for the DEEWR Ministers and Parliamentary Secretary can be accessed via the ALP website until after the election and the conclusion of the caretaker period.

Wednesday 1 August 2012 Transcript

The Hon Kate Ellis MP [link:/ellis]

• Minister for Employment Participation • Minister for Early Childhood and Child Care

Ellis: It’s fantastic to be out here in Townsville today, at this Jobs and Skills Expo in Townsville we have over 400 jobs up for grabs. This is going to transform the lives of local job seekers. We have already had over 500 people through the doors in the first hour. We know that many people here in Townsville have been doing it tough because of a very volatile local economy and expos like today’s - this is third time we have been here in Townsville - showing that the Australian Government is working with the local community to make sure that local residents share the benefits of that strong economy.

Reporter: Is there more effort that the Government needs to make in regional areas to make sure they are not left behind in terms of accessing jobs?

Ellis: Absolutely, we are as a Government incredibly proud to have a strong economy and a low national unemployment rate. But we also recognise that not every community is sharing in that prosperity. We recognise that many local communities are doing it tough and that’s why we are here on the ground standing shoulder to shoulder with the local community to make sure they get back on their feet and that more Australians are working.

Reporter: What makes our local community stronger?

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Ellis: We have seen a huge amount of change in the last 12 months in the Townsville economy. There have been a number of redundancies and companies closing up and moving elsewhere, we know that this is affecting many local residents and we also know

that we have a high Australian dollar and there are changes facing our economy, but it is not all doom and gloom.

What we have seen here today is that people do want to come and try and find new opportunities find new employment, we know that expos like these work because we have had over 55 of them already and we have already placed over 21,000 Australians into job

and we are hoping to build on that here in Townsville.

Reporter: Another big issue in Far North Queensland is the indigenous employment level and under employment levels as well, what more can be done to assist them?

Ellis: Look I am really proud that our Government is putting in place these programs and resources to help the local community and help indigenous Australians increase their employment numbers and opportunities. At the very same time we are putting in place these measures we are seeing the Queensland Government slashing programs and cutting programs to assist in indigenous employment. Our message is very clear here today - the Australian Government is going to work directly with communities, we will not follow Queensland’s lead and walk away from indigenous Australians.

Reporter: With the state government cutting jobs back, what is a better way to be able to save that money?

Ellis: Look I think every government has the task of finding savings, our Government did that and went through that in the lead up to the budget. Campbell Newman and his government could do that but like so many Liberal National governments their first attack is on the workers of this state. We have seen that they are quiet prepared to put people’s jobs on the scrap heap and put them in unemployment lines.

Reporter: Must be a bit hard, you are coming out here to give jobs and they are there slashing them.

Ellis: Well look, I think it sends a very clear message to the community about the different priorities of the different political parties in this country. We are proud to be a party that has a focus on jobs, we are proud to be a party working on increasing participation and I think we have seen yet another example of what conservative governments do, slash jobs

and disregard peoples need for ongoing employment and a regular pay check.

Reporter: do you think there is enough scope in the private sector to absorb all these jobs which are being cut in Queensland, we know that yesterday there were 2000 government jobs cut, how on earth can the private sector pick this up?

Ellis: Well I think that is why we need to work to grow the overall size of the pile. We need to increase our national prosperity increase our productivity and ensure that there are more jobs created. Our Government has a very proud record since we came to office of

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creating around 750,000 jobs but we need to stay vigilant and keep working and work with communities and employers to ensure that we can do a better job of matching people with employment opportunities that do exist. Right here in Townsville we know there are 400 jobs inside these doors for people to snap them up and start working.

Reporter: Inaudible

Ellis: This has been a little bit overblown; I haven’t heard anyone talk about 24/7 around the clock child care. What we are talking about though, and our Government want to make this very clear, we are incredibly proud of the steps we have made to ensure that Australian child care is more affordable, more accessible and of a higher quality but we always want to work towards the next steps. That means listening to parents' concerns. Many parents have talked about flexibility, many parents have talked about not being able to get out of work right on five o’clock to pick up their kids. So these are issues we are prepared to look at to work with the sector. The PM made it very clear when she met with stakeholders earlier this year that we are prepared to hear their proposals and to work in partnership with them to make sure we meet our goal and that is to make sure Australian parents have access to the best possible system to meet their needs.

Reporter: So you deny that the Government aren’t in discussions with Goodstart about this?

Ellis: Look, we have said we are in discussions with a whole lot of childcare stakeholders about a whole lot of different proposals and that is because we recognise that no matter how big the reforms we have introduced or how much invest we put into this sector there is always more work to do, and we are happy to work on those next steps.

But I would say when we are talking about the future of Australian child care in the sector I was appalled and disgusted by the comments by Ewen Jones which have been reported by the local paper up here. This is a man who claims that our hard working, dedicated early childhood workforce should do it for the love of it as opposed to money. This is just another indication of what conservative governments do and that is scrap the conditions, scrap the pay of the hard working Australians who keep this country running. Our workforce in early childhood education are passionate and dedicated and have every right to access the fair work system that our Government has established and to ask for better pay conditions that they believe they deserve.

Reporter: So you are in support of around the clock child care?

Ellis: No I’m not. I am in support of making sure our child care system is meeting the needs of parents and I think that one thing that we need to recognise is that as the hours of work and the nature of our workforce changes, we need to make sure that our child care sector is meeting the current needs and I don’t think anyone would want to see 24 hour child care and I am certainly not one of them.

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