Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Tuesday, 30 July 2019
Page: 1108

Employment


Senator O'SULLIVAN (Western Australia) (14:08): My question is to the Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business. Will the minister update the Senate on how the Morrison government is demonstrating it's on the side of local communities by getting more Australians off welfare and into work?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business) (14:08): I thank Senator O'Sullivan for the question. I know this is a very personal one for him, given the fantastic work that he did before coming to this place—in particular, in working with communities and getting those who are on welfare off welfare and into work. I certainly look forward to working with Senator O'Sullivan in this capacity in this portfolio. As Senator Ruston has already stated to the chamber, the Morrison government unashamedly believes that the best form of welfare is a job. This is a side of politics that actually believes in the dignity of work. And, as a government, we have a very, very strong focus on putting in place the right economic framework so that businesses out there can prosper, grow and create more jobs. Almost 1.4 million jobs have been created since we were elected to office. But, at the same time, we have a very strong focus on putting in place the right policies and processes to ensure that people who are on welfare have access to the policies, the programs and the services they need to ensure that we give them the very best opportunity to move off welfare and into work.

In relation to the programs that we have in place, those on the other side criticise them and oppose them every step of the way—the Youth Jobs PaTH program, giving our youth who've never had the opportunity to work an opportunity to undertake an internship; ParentsNext, ensuring that in particular young women whose youngest child will be going to school are prepared for the workforce; and of course our rural apprentices incentive, which the Labor Party like to criticise at every opportunity they get.

This is the side of politics that understands the benefit of work, and we are unashamedly of the belief that the best form of welfare is a job.

The PRESIDENT: Senator O'Sullivan, a supplementary question.



Senator O'SULLIVAN (Western Australia) (14:10): Minister, thank you for that answer. Are there any new approaches the government is exploring to improve on these outcomes?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business) (14:10): The answer is yes. The government understands that we need to continue to focus on and deliver better outcomes for both jobseekers and employers. Therefore government services, employment services, are being transformed. This will result in the delivery of better services to those who are looking for work as well as for people who provide the jobs, for the employers. From 1 July this year through to June 2022 the new model is being trialled in South Australia and New South Wales. This is all about ensuring that jobseekers who are the most ready to work are digitally literate and able to focus on online services. At the same time, it allows the government to reinvest back into those jobseekers who require more assistance. We are focused on getting people off welfare and into work. (Time expired)

The PRESIDENT: Senator O'Sullivan, a final supplementary question.



Senator O'SULLIVAN (Western Australia) (14:11): Could the minister inform the Senate of any broader economic benefits associated with moving people off social services payments and into work?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business) (14:12): Put quite simply, nobody benefits when somebody languishes on welfare. That is why, as a government, we have our plan for a strong economy, which we're implementing. You create jobs by ensuring a strong economy. Those jobs are then able to be taken up by people who are on welfare. Again, we unashamedly believe that the best form of welfare is a job, and the economy under us has created almost 1.4 million jobs since we were elected to office.

But, more than that, welfare dependency in Australia under the coalition government is the lowest it has been in 30 years. As you know, when you get people off welfare and into work they stop taking from the system as a benefitter of welfare and they start giving to the system as a taxpayer. There are so many other benefits to getting people off welfare and into work, and we will continue to focus on that.