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Thursday, 25 July 2019
Page: 1081


Mr THOMPSON (Herbert) (16:45): In the words of our fantastic Prime Minister, 'If you have a go, you get a go,' and that's exactly what I had the pleasure of seeing in my electorate of Herbert just last week at the Townsville Jobs Fair. On a regular Wednesday afternoon, the Murray stadium was abuzz with hundreds and hundreds of jobseekers meeting face-to-face with the people who could well become the ones that give them that go.

The jobs fairs have been operating around the country as part of the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business initiative. I want to thank the minister for bringing the jobs fair to our city for the first time, because it was an absolute success. Here are some of the numbers. There were 1,352 jobseekers through the doors; 53 exhibitors set up stalls in the stadium; and 931 jobs were on offer, a description of each one pinned on the jobs board. This was probably the most popular aspect of the event, giving attendees a one-stop shop to see if there was anything out there that might suit their skills and abilities. It was so great to see people eagerly taking note of career opportunities which could potentially spell the beginning of a promising new chapter in their lives.

But, of course, not everyone has experience in writing resumes and applying for jobs, and time-pressured bosses are looking for one piece of paper in a pile of hundreds which really stands out. That's why experts were on hand to give practical assistance on how to lay out CVs and even how to approach the most nerve-racking of job interviews. It's still being determined how many jobs were filled, but my assessment from the feeling on the ground was that the day had been an overwhelming success.

To me, the Townsville Jobs Fair highlights the increasing confidence in the local economy of my electorate and shows that the Australian government's policies are working. Our nation has seen 11 consecutive months of employment growth, and 20,000 full-time jobs were created in the economy last month. Since the 2013 election, businesses have created almost 1.4 million jobs, and around 58 per cent of those have been full-time jobs. The Prime Minister has committed to the Australian people that, over the next five years, the government will set the stage for another 1.25 million jobs.

We know that small and medium businesses are the engine room of our economy, and that is absolutely true for my electorate of Herbert. There are over 13,000 businesses in my electorate, and we need to make sure this number continues to grow. That's why the coalition government is providing a hand-up for those wanting to start a small business. Many have been benefiting from the research and development tax incentive, which helps businesses offset some of the costs that come with having a great idea and making it profitable. Over the last three years, nearly $1 million has been granted to 23 businesses in my electorate as part of the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science's Entrepreneurs' Program. Let's not forget the student sponsorships, Australia-China Science and Research Fund, Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship, and National Science Week grants, all of which provide a cash injection to help small businesses in my electorate to get ahead and create new jobs.

We also know that infrastructure projects create jobs too, and Townsville has a huge number of those, at just the right time. Last week, as part of the Townsville City Deal, the Deputy Prime Minister signed off on $195 million for stage 2 of the Haughton pipeline, which will see a staggering 691 construction jobs created, along with a further 30 new full-time ongoing roles. In addition, it will provide a boost to agricultural output of $3 million a year by making extra capacity from the Haughton channel available to irrigators. And of course the North Queensland Stadium will soon be home to the North Queensland Cowboys.

Touching back on the jobs fair, it was wonderful to see people walking around in suits and ties as if it were an interview, taking it very seriously because in Townsville we have had high unemployment for a long time. This is the first time the jobs fair has been held there, and it was very humbling to see young people walking around, wanting to ask all the hard questions and wanting to speak to real employers because people want a job. I look forward to getting back to the electorate to speak to these jobseekers to find out exactly how they went.