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Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Page: 3149


Mr HUSIC (Chifley) (15:31): He asked me to respond! The Deputy Prime Minister would win a gold medal for jibber! How am I supposed to respond to that? This is an MPI about jobs, and he has spent most of the time talking about a backpacker tax, and even in regional Australia they all know that this will hurt business and put pressure on jobs. He spent all this time talking about that, but the Deputy Prime Minister cannot deal with the reality that there is a big jobs problem in this country. It is summed up by this one stat from the Reserve Bank. When you look at all the jobs that are being created, and with unemployment down to 5.6 per cent—when you look at the way jobs are being created this year alone—part-time work accounts for all of the increase in jobs in 2016 and two-thirds of the increase since 2013. The bulk of the jobs that are being created are part-time work.

You will hear those opposite say that this is a good thing—that it means people have choices, flexibility. Wrong: when you ask most people, they want a full-time job; they do not have part-time mortgages, they do not have part-time bills. They need to know that the money is coming through to pay for the things that we all, rightly, understand are required for a decent standard of living. But this government does not care to worry about it and does not care to have a plan to provide for more job growth in this country. This government is quite happy to see people struggle and quite happy not to have an answer as to where the jobs will come from.

Look at youth unemployment. Those opposite used to say all the time, 'We're all about fixing youth unemployment; we're going to fix it.' Where is youth unemployment at? Under the Turnbull government's watch, youth unemployment now stands at nearly 13 per cent—double the national average. According to their own figures—

Mr Taylor interjecting

Mr HUSIC: No, it is not. It is through estimates. Listen to your own departments. Your own department, in Senate estimates in May, handed over the figure about what youth unemployment is like and where it stands. The assistant minister might want to know that there are nearly 300,000 unemployed young people between the ages of 15 and 24 in this country right now. On top of this, the department acknowledges that there are another 170,000 who have been unemployed for more than a year and who are disillusioned by the fact that they look for jobs that simply are not there—170,000 on top of that 300,000, all admitted to by your own Department of Employment in estimates this year. But there is no plan for jobs.

Look at what job programs they have. Work for the Dole has been around under both coalition and Labor governments. Under this government nearly 90 per cent of participants who go through Work for the Dole are not in full-time work three months after they finish the program. Just a shade over 9,000 do get full-time work, which we are happy for, but it costs nearly $28,000 per head to get those people into work. The stunning fact is that nearly 90 per cent of people who go through Work for the Dole and expect to get a job as a result of it do not get one. This government does not have a plan to help those people.

Instead of fixing Work for the Dole, they have said they will bring in the internship program that the House will debate later today. It is an intern program but they cannot define what an intern is and they cannot define what work they will do. They have created a pool of cut-price labour in an attempt to get people jobs, but it will potentially displace jobs and cut wages. There are no protections in place.

Mr Christensen: That's rubbish! There is! There are multiple provisions!

Mr HUSIC: I hear the alternative Prime Minister chip me. Maybe you could use your powers for good instead of evil for a change, and get the Prime Minister to fix this sham of a program. The longer young unemployed people are locked out of the employment market, the longer they will stay unemployed. There are bigger changes happening in terms of automation and technology that will change the face of the job market in this country. We cannot afford for people to be de-skilled. Everything the government touch turns into a shambles. They are incompetent, dysfunctional and divided, and the unemployed of Australia are paying the price for it and they should not be forced to do just that.