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Thursday, 12 September 1985
Page: 504


Senator MAGUIRE —Does the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security have up to date information on the number of persons receiving unemployment benefits in Australia? If so, has the number of beneficiaries in South Australia now fallen below the 50,000 level? How does the latest figure for my State compare with that for the same time last year?


Senator GRIMES —By chance I do have with me today both the Australia-wide figures and the figures for South Australia which Senator Maguire has requested. The number of people receiving unemployment benefits at 30 August this year was 541,022, which is a drop of 2.3 per cent from 26 July, or a drop of 12,000 in that month. If we compare the figures of 30 August this year with those of 30 August 1984 we find that there has been a drop in the number of people receiving the unemployment benefit from 570,000 to 29,500, or 5.2 per cent. South Australia has the second best record of all the States. The best record for a drop in unemployment is, of course, in another Labor State, Victoria. In South Australia, the figures at 30 August 1985 compared with those of 31 August 1984 show a drop of 4,809, or 8.9 per cent. In Victoria, the drop has been 12.4 per cent. The only two increases in that time, of course, have been in Queensland with 2.8 per cent and the Northern Territory with 18.8 per cent. That increase will continue with the policies of the governments in that State and Territory.

South Australia has a very good record as has Victoria. It certainly gives the lie to statements that I have seen in the newspapers in the last couple of days that the South Austalian economy is in some difficulty. In fact, the South Australian economy is doing very well as is most of the rest of the Australian economy, the only difficulties being in Queensland, the Northern Territory and, to a lesser extent, in my State of Tasmania.