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Monday, 12 October 2015
Page: 7296

Employment


Senator EDWARDS (South Australia) (14:30): My question is to the Minister For Employment, Senator Cash. Will the minister inform the Senate how a diversified, open and trading economy can promote growth and jobs, and what is the government doing to deliver on those outcomes?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (14:31): I thank Senator Edwards for his question. Like those on this side of the chamber, we are delighted to be part of a government that is focusing on restoring the economy to what it used to be under the former Howard government and, at the same time, ensuring that we create jobs. In terms of job creation under this government, since coming to office over 300,000 jobs have been created. And the good news for Australians is that more Australians are in work than ever before. In terms of full-time employment and part-time employment, they are both at record highs.

In terms of what the government has done to facilitate job creation, the first thing that we did was, of course, we removed unnecessary taxation burdens like Labor's carbon tax and mining tax because we on this side of the chamber know that they were weapons, quite literally, of mass destruction when it came to creating jobs in Australia. We have also, as Senator Sinodinos has articulated, been responsible for signing up not one, not two but three landmark free trade agreements with our Asian neighbours—China, Japan and Korean. In terms of the job creation potential that those free trade agreements give us, we are looking at almost 9,000 jobs per year, and we can create up to 178,000 jobs by the time those agreements come into full force in 2035. This is a government that knows that job creation needs to be at the forefront of our policy agenda and that is exactly what we look at when we are implementing policy.


Senator EDWARDS (South Australia) (14:33): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Can the minister advise the Senate what measures the government is implementing to get more Australians into work?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (14:33): Again, what we are focused on, on this side of the chamber, is looking at how we can remove any barriers which would prevent Australians from getting into work or returning to work, because we know that this is vital to Australia's productive capacity and to restoring our economy. That is why we have invested $3.5 billion over the next five years on child care assistance. What this will do is provide a childcare system that is simpler, more flexible and more affordable and it will help get more Australians into work. Of course, in my portfolio as the Minister for Women, this is a very, very important measure and has great potential to get women back into the workforce.

In terms of our commitment to job seekers, who are looking to become job ready, we are looking to better support them and find work for them and that is being delivered through our jobactive program. The first three months of jobactive have seen more than 69,000 job placements being recorded— (Time expired)


Senator EDWARDS (South Australia) (14:34): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Will the minister advise the Senate what benefits the China-Australia Free Trade Agreement will have for Australian workers?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (14:34): Again, it appears to be a fundamental difference between those of us on this side of the chamber and those on the other side of the chamber—and in particular the shadow trade minister, Minister Wong—because we understand that when you are committed to jobs and when you are committed to growth, you should support agreements such as the China free trade agreement. Those opposite though continue to run the scare campaigns that the CFMEU themselves are running.

If we look at job creation potential under the China free trade agreement, the dairy industry alone says that the China FTA will create between 600 and 700 jobs in its first year alone. Other industries such as beef, horticulture and wine will see strong job gains. Then we have a look at the Financial Services Council, which says that the China agreement could result in the creation of 10,000 new jobs by 2030 in the financial services alone. If job creation itself is not enough, that is a reason to support the China free trade agreement— (Time expired)