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Transcript of interview: Radio 3AW, Melbourne: 16 June 1992: Jobs, SGL, youth wages, democrats

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Leader of the Opposition




SUBJECTS: Jobs, SGL, Youth Wages, Democrats


... to create two million jobs by the end of this century, how do you plan to do that?

Well, the "Fightback!" package that we've identified is concentrated on creating jobs. We think it is reasonable to expect that you can create two million jobs and the

opportunities come across the board - I can give you many specific examples. Tourism, for example, is an industry that we think we could significantly increase in size. I think we could quadruple the number of foreign tourists, for example, which would see about ten million foreign tourists a year

coming to Australia by the year 2000. That will create, on industry Commission estimates, over 400,000 jobs. Abolition of payroll tax will create a couple of hundred thousand jobs.

If you want another industry example, let's pick something like food processing. I think most Australians are amazed that we import food and, with our agricultural base, are not a major food exporter - I believe we can be.

"Flghtback!" creates the circumstances in which we can be and there are many thousands of jobs that can be created in that industry. So I can go through specific industry examples or I can look at specific policy initiatives like payroll tax, the abolition of which Mr Keating says will create 200,000 jobs,

lower immigration, for example. Let's say we were about 50.000 less a year than the Government - I think they are looking at about 100,000 or thereabouts. Let's say we were about 50,000 a year less or every couple of years that's

100.000 less positions that will be earmarked for arriving migrants, that's 100,000 more jobs that will be available for people in Australia.

So whether you go through specific decisions like payroll tax or the abolition of the Superannuation Guarantee Levy which will save another 100,000 jobs or cuts in immigration or Parliament House, Canberra, A.C.T. 2600 Phone 277 4022





specific industries that will develop like tourism or food processing. Indeed right across the board, you can reasonably conclude that two million jobs are the sort of thing we ought to be aiming for by the end of the decade.


So it is a very achievable figure?


We believe it is, yes.


When would you suggest the first of those jobs would start coming in under a Coalition Government?


We'd move very quickly in some of those areas. The

immigration cuts could be brought in pretty much straight away, certainly that process could be started. We have identified a phasing of the tax changes which within a couple of years would see the abolition of payroll tax. We would . move immediately on cutting back on the size of the public

sector and lowering interest rates and the industrial relations reform, all of which lower costs and create the capacity for the private sector to start to create jobs. Prom day one we believe that we would be making a substantial effort in that respect.

Another area that is very important that I didn't mention is youth wages. Young people are really discriminated against. We have to under the current structures pay them too much relative to a full adult wage particularly when there is a lot

of need for training and so on. The introduction of youth wages and related training schemes like our AUSTRAIN proposal would see a lot of young people getting into the workforce and it's about time we faced the reality in Australia that we need

a genuine youth wage as part of that process.


Just quickly on the Government's Superannuation Levy. Do you believe the Government has caved into the Democrats again?


I think the Democrats have done a deal with the Government. God save Australia when the Democrats hold the balance of power. They are acting more these days like a faction of the ALP and probably not performing as well as, say, the Left. At

least you can respect the Left because they have got a fairly consistent ideological position but, the Democrats blow with the breeze. They say they can't be bought, we figure you rent them by the hour and that's what the Government has been doing with them.


The bottom line of this is, quite frankly, they have given up on jobs. If they support this Superannuation Guarantee Levy at whatever level, they are supporting the further sacrifice of jobs in Australia. Treasury has estimated that the Levy the Government has proposed could cost 100,000 Jobs. If they

knock one per cent off that Levy, okay, so they cost 80,000 jobs, they're still costing jobs. And as far as I'm

concerned, they ought to be held fully accountable for the fact that they do not care about unemployment in this country.


Should the Levy be abandoned altogether considering that the Democrats are a minority Party and really shouldn't have a say in something like that?


Yes, I think the Levy should be scrapped. The Government ought to be held to account for the fact that they want to destroy another 100,000 jobs. We have offered an alternative superannuation structure which is voluntary which gives people

tax incentives to go into superannuation - that's the way to do it, you don't need compulsion. The Superannuat ion Guarantee Levy is just another tax on jobs, just like payroll

tax is another tax on jobs. We ought to scrap both.