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Curtin campaign

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12 February, 1981


The unemployment figures released today demonstrate yet again the increasing opportunities that are emerging in the Australian job market.

In the year to December 1980, teenage unemployment fell by more than 7,000; the growth in total employment was 170,000.

The position in Western Australia reflects these national trends.

In the 12 months to December 1980, unemployment fell by more than 9,000; and total employment increased by 30,000.

These are encouraging signs.

They evidence a nation on the move.

They demonstrate the confidence that is at work in Australia today; and show that the benefits of increased economic growth are not being confined to a few. -

These achievements also demonstrate the importance of retaining long term perspectives and co-ordinated priorities in the implementation of Government policy.

Unquestionably, the employment growth stems from the increased investment activity that is underway.

A recent ABS survey suggests that real business fixed investment for 1980 was up 25% on 1979 levels.

And the Australian Petroleum Exploration Association estimates that drilling activity in 1981 will be at the highest level for more than a decade.

These developments are just some of the consequences of our successful fight in reducing the level of inflation.

And because of this success, real jobs are being created of rewarding and lasting benefit.

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But there are challenges ahead.

However, unlike those facing many overseas countries, Australia's challenges are not wholly associated with generating economic growth.

Indeed the recent OECD December survey forecast real growth amongst member countries for 1981 of only 1%; it forecast real growth in GDP for Australia of 4%.

The challenges we face are those associated with co-ordinating and controlling this growth in a way which is beneficial to all Australians.

These challenges include:

. providing our workforce with the skills required to sustain our potential growth;

. preparing our young people for a productive role in Australia's workforce;

. resisting the militant demands of some union leaders for an unreasonable share of the nation's wealth;

. continuing to hold down Government expenditure and avoid increased taxation demands on individual Australians.

Our present position confirms that the Government's policies are working.

The emerging challenges will only be successfully met by the continued implementation of these policies.

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