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Monday, 1 December 2008
Page: 11896

Dr SOUTHCOTT (3:49 PM) —My question is to the Minister for Education, Employment and Workplace Relations and Social Inclusion. I refer the minister to the Prime Minister’s estimate that the economic stimulus package will create up to 75,000 jobs over the coming year and, in addition, the government’s estimate that the recent COAG agreement will create 133,000 jobs. Minister, can you advise when these jobs will be created and in which sectors the majority of jobs will be created?

Ms GILLARD (Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion) —I thank the member for his question. Yes, this is a government that has acted decisively to keep this nation in front as we confront the global financial crisis and its effects on our real economy. I know that, day to day, members of the Liberal Party equivocate about whether or not they support our $10.4 billion economic security statement. The Leader of the Opposition was equivocating on radio this morning. We put that money into the economic security statement because we wanted to ensure that we were doing everything we could to pro-tect Australian jobs. The estimates are that that statement and the economic activity that it is obviously going to prime are worth 75,000 jobs. What sectors are they in? We have obviously put money into the hands of families and pensioners so the economic activity will be reflected in the things that they buy and use, and we have directly put money into the residential construction sector through the first home owners grant and its ex-ten-sion to $21,000 for people who enter a contract for a newly-constructed home. On the COAG announcements on the weekend, once again it is more money into the economy, more money where it will make a difference in health services and in education.

Dr Southcott —Mr Speaker, I rise on a point of order. The question was on jobs and it was very specifically on jobs. I am calling the minister to relevance and asking her if she can advise when and in which sectors—

The SPEAKER —The Deputy Prime Minister will respond to the question.

Ms GILLARD —I was talking about jobs: jobs in our economy, jobs flowing from the economic security statement, jobs in the construction sector—I know this is complicated for the member, but if he just sticks with it he might learn something—and then more money out of COAG on the weekend into vital services—education, health, disability and social housing. Obviously, for the provision of those services, the construction of social housing is associated with jobs. That is, people work to get those things done. That is why the Prime Minister, when he spoke about these matters on Saturday surrounded by the premiers—including the Liberal Premier of Western Australia—indicated that the COAG deal was there to provide all those vital services and also to deal with some of the circumstances we find ourselves in after the global financial crisis with its impacts on the Australian economy. We are doing everything we can to ensure that we protect and create jobs in this country.