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Thursday, 15 November 2018
Page: 8306

Employment


Senator DUNIAM (Tasmania) (14:06): My question is to the minister representing the Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, Senator Fifield. Can the minister inform the Senate about how the Liberal-National government's plan for a stronger economy is helping to drive job creation?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister for Communications and the Arts) (14:06): Thank you, Senator Duniam, and can I acknowledge your strong advocacy on behalf of the people of Tasmania. It is clear that the government's strong economic plan is working. We are getting the budget under control. We're continuing to guarantee the essential services that Australians rely on. The by-product of a strong economy is jobs, and I'm happy to advise colleagues that the record jobs growth we've seen under the coalition is continuing. The latest data released by the ABS today reveals a rise in total employment of over 32,000 jobs for the month of October. That means there are now more Australians in work than ever before—more than at any other point in our nation's history. There are also more Australians in full-time work than ever before, and the unemployment rate remains at its lowest level in over six years.

The Senate will be pleased to hear that the level of employment in Tasmania is now at a record high. Today's figures also confirm that there are more women in work than ever before, and the full-time employment of women stands at a record high. What this all means is that there are more Australians than ever enjoying the social, mental and financial benefits of having a job. As a government, we remain absolutely focused on creating the right economic conditions to generate more jobs for more Australians, and we have a plan in place. We're delivering on our commitment, and that plan is bearing fruit for Australians.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Duniam, a supplementary question?



Senator DUNIAM (Tasmania) (14:08): I wonder if the minister can inform us how the government's approach is translating into more money for working Australians?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister for Communications and the Arts) (14:08): I can indeed. ABS data released revealed the strongest wages growth in three years, confirming that the government's strong economic plan is seeing wages heading in the right direction. As the Governor of the Reserve Bank has repeatedly stated, wage growth is expected to pick up further as the labour market tightens, and today's job figures show good news on that front.

Of course, the government wants to see Australians with more money in their pockets, and it's for this reason that we've cut taxes for around 10 million Australians already, with further cuts to come. Happily, under our stewardship, we've also seen the gender pay gap fall to a record low of 14.5 per cent. We do know that there's more work to be done on this front. Minister O'Dwyer will announce further measures during the inaugural women's economic security statement, to be delivered to the National Press Club next week.

The PRESIDENT: Senator Duniam, a final supplementary question?



Senator DUNIAM (Tasmania) (14:09): I wonder if the minister might be able to tell us whether there are any risks to the continuation of this economic growth and job creation?


Senator FIFIELD (VictoriaManager of Government Business in the Senate and Minister for Communications and the Arts) (14:10): I can. Those risks almost always are on that side of the chamber. The reason is fairly straightforward, Mr President: our colleagues opposite are dangerously under the thumb of militant unions. That poses a serious threat to the continued growth of the economy should those opposite swap places with us. At the Labor Party conference later this year, those opposite will quietly sign up to industrial relations policies which do literally come straight from the last century. They will give militant unions free rein to shut down entire industries, hurting small business and costing jobs, all because the Leader of the Opposition is too weak to stand up to the trade union movement. Those opposite are a real risk and they can't be trusted.