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Tuesday, 2 April 2019
Page: 14461

Economy


Mr KATTER (Kennedy) (15:02): My question is to the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations. Haven't the LNP and ALP's free markets seen exports skyrocketing? The motor vehicle industry has been exported. Clothing and footwear have been exported. Petrol has been exported. Whitegoods have been exported. Half the seafood, pork and vegetable industries have been exported, as has 25 per cent of our electricity. Coalminers' and power workers' jobs have gone to Chinese solar factories. Minister, is there going to be a royal commission? To meet imports, haven't we sold 83 per cent of our minerals, 93 per cent of our coal seam gas, our airports, our coal ports and the five biggest farms in the land? It is corporate colonisation. Are the ALP and LNP on the take or just plain stupid?


Ms O'DWYER (HigginsMinister for Women and Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations) (15:03): I thank the member for Kennedy for his question. Respectfully, I would say the answer to his question is no. But I have to say, as this is my last week of question time, that there are many things that I am going to miss about this place, and one of the things that I will miss is the questions from the member for Kennedy. He has a wonderful way of combining Aussie vernacular with haiku poetry. So I'm going to do my very best to address the theme of his question, which is the Australian economy and the coalition's plan for our economy. The coalition's economic plan for our economy is delivering lower taxes, a growing economy and, of course, a record number of jobs in this country. And I'm proud to report to the House that we have a record number of Australians in work now, more than at any other time in our history. We have, under our economic stewardship, seen more than 1.2 million jobs created in this country, and the majority of those jobs have in fact been full-time jobs. And I'm very proud to be able to report to the House that, over the past 12 months, we have seen around 300,000 jobs created and, of those jobs created, three-quarters of them have been full-time jobs. It is a great credit to the economic plan that we have put in place which has seen that happen.

We have also seen unemployment drop now to a number that has a '4' in front of it: 4.9 per cent. Again, it is due to the hard work and effort of the coalition team on this side of the chamber—a team that, of course, has lowered taxes for small and medium-sized enterprises so that they can invest in their businesses and so that they can employ fellow Australians. In fact, 98 per cent of all businesses in this country are small and medium-sized enterprises, including farmers, and they employ around seven million Australians. Part of our economic plan has been to deliver free trade agreements that open up new export markets for those farmers, for those small and medium-sized enterprises. Free trade agreements with China, with South Korea, with Japan and with Hong Kong; closer economic relations, of course, with Singapore, with India and with Indonesia; and the Trans-Pacific Partnership are all delivering so that we can see new markets available to people who are working hard here in Australia.

He asked about electricity prices. I'm sorry to say that we have seen in recent times that there is a plan for higher electricity prices, and it is those opposite who want to bring in a plan for a carbon tax 2.0. (Time expired)