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Monday, 2 December 1985
Page: 2647

Senator ELSTOB —Can the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security tell the Senate whether the reduction in the number of people registered as unemployed in the Australian Bureau of Statistics survey is matched by a comparable drop in the number receiving unemployment benefit? Can he say which States have been responsible for the greatest reduction in unemployment?

Senator GRIMES —As it happens, I do know that the fall in the number of people on unemployment benefit does match the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures on those who are unemployed. The unemployment benefit statistics are very important, as Senator Elstob knows, because they are exact measurements of the number of people receiving benefits rather than the estimates that are given by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. In the years just prior to our coming into government we used to watch very carefully, honourable senators will remember, the number of people on unemployment benefit because the increases in those days of people on benefit used to precede the startling increases demonstrated by the Australian Bureau of Statistics. As it happens, since November 1983 there has been a drop of 111,000 people on unemployment benefit. At the moment there are approximately 518,000 people receiving unemployment benefit in the community. When one considers the increases in the work force, this reflects the large number of jobs that have been created since this Government came to power and in fact matches the fall in unemployment statistics of the Australian Bureau of Statistics. As Senator Elstob well knows, the biggest decreases in those areas happen to have been in the States of Victoria and South Australia. That is obviously because of the general growth in employment and in the economy in Australia, but also because of the good management of the governments in those two States. I think that will be reflected in the forthcoming events in South Australia.