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Wednesday, 3 April 2019
Page: 14637

Economy


Mrs MARINO (ForrestChief Government Whip) (15:03): My question is to the Minister for Women and Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations. Will the minister update the House on how the government's strong economic plan and investment in skills development is assisting more Australians, including more women, into the workforce? Are there any risks posed by pursuing a different approach?


Ms O'DWYER (HigginsMinister for Women and Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations) (15:04): I thank the member for Forrest for her question. She, like every member on this side of the chamber, has worked hard to get the budget back on track and, as the Treasurer has said, back in the black for the first time in 12 years. The last time that Labor was able to deliver a surplus was 30 long years ago.

Our economic plan is working. Unemployment is at a decade low, at 4.9 per cent. When those opposite were in government, of course, unemployment leapt up to 5.7 per cent. The economy under us continues to grow, and there are more Australians in work than ever before. Under our government, we have seen the creation of 1.2 million new jobs, the majority of which are full-time jobs, there are a record number of women in employment and we have seen the gender pay gap fall now to a record low, whereas under those opposite it went up to 17.2 per cent.

Of course we know that we have to continue on with the hard work in our economic plan, and the Treasurer announced that last night. We've committed to a further 1.25 million new jobs over the next five years, adding to the more than 1.2 million jobs already created under our economic stewardship and, as announced in the budget last night, the coalition is committing $525 million to deliver a world-class vocational education and training system. This includes investment of more than $156 million to create up to 80,000 additional new apprentices, which will give priority to those in the skills shortage areas, through our new apprentice initiative, and more than $50 million to provide greater job opportunities for young people in the regions.

The government is delivering the skills today for tomorrow, and we're doing that through our package. We're ensuring that all Australians have the right mix of skills to succeed now and into the future and that we are meeting employer needs. And we are doing this without delivering new taxes. Those opposite have a plan to deliver $200 billion of new or increased taxes—taxes on your retirement, on superannuation, on housing, on savings, and the list goes on. The only way that they can announce any initiatives is to reach deeper and deeper into your pocket. They reach deeper and deeper into your pocket because they don't believe in aspiration. We do, and we're lowering taxes. (Time expired)