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Monday, 23 November 2015
Page: 13268

Refugees: Employment

Dr STONE (Murray) (15:08): My constituency question is to the Minister for Industry representing the Minister for Employment. My constituent Rashidi Sumaili, a refugee from the Congo, is looking for work. He consistently finds that employers want recent and relevant work experience, which he cannot always cite. What measures has this government put in place to help unemployed people like Rashidi so he can get a job?

Mr PYNE (SturtLeader of the House, Minister for Industry, Innovation and Science) (15:09): I thank the member for Murray for her question. I can assure my colleagues there has been no organisation of these questions today at all. I am suffering the same fate as the minister for large projects representing the Minister for Communications when it came to the NBN and infrastructure in the last sitting fortnight. I am very glad to get the member for Murray 's question. I think constituency question time is working extremely well, may I say. The member for Murray is a very strong advocate in her electorate for employment and for jobs and growth in an area of Victoria that has suffered in recent years and decades because of the changing nature of the economy, because of the less labour intensive context of agricultural businesses in Murray and because of competition from overseas. The area that the member for Murray represents, Shepparton and around that part of Victoria, has suffered economically. But the member for Murray is a tireless fighter for her area and for jobs.

This question today is about youth unemployment and youth employment. I am very pleased to say that under the member for Cowper jobactive came into place on 1 July and in Murray it has already placed 876 people overall and 300 under 30. So jobactive is working. It is a $6.8 billion program which is making a difference in Murray. It goes hand in hand with our youth employment strategy—a $531 million strategy to support young people at risk of unemployment. I would have thought the Labor Party would welcome the Youth Employment Strategy. It is a $530 million strategy designed to ensure that at risk young people do not fall through the cracks. It is being accessed in places like Shepparton in the electorate of Murray and it is helping people get jobs. Overall, as the Treasurer said earlier in question time, unemployment is coming down and youth unemployment in particular is coming down. People like the Minister for Trade—who has brought about free trade agreements with Korea, with Japan, with China and through the TPP—are making an enormous difference to our future economically in this country in terms of free trade. The Minister for Agriculture is working tirelessly to ensure that we get the most out of the agricultural boom. He is not here today, but he often talks about the prices that farmers are getting for the produce they take to market. There are a number of those kinds of measures. The government is helping jobs and growth in Murray and all around Australia.

Mr Turnbull: After that thoroughly randomly selected question, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.