Press conference Parliament House, Canberra

Transcript
  • Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations
  • Minister for Women

E&OE

Subjects: ABS labour force figures; Labor’s $200 billion of new or increased taxes

 

KELLY O’DWYER:

The latest figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics labour force are a ringing endorsement of the Coalition Government’s economic plan. That economic plan is delivering for all Australians. A record number of Australians are in work, with seasonally-adjusted employment increasing by over 39,000 in January 2019 to stand at a record high of over 12,751,000 people. Full-time employment is also at a record high of 8,743,100 after growing by 65,400 in January 2019 and 236,100 over the year. Full-time employment growth has accounted for 87 per cent of the total increase in employment over the last 12 months. Encouragingly, female total employment, female full-time employment, and the female participation rate are all at record highs. Male total employment and male full-time employment are also at record highs. Three of every four working age Australians are in work. The gender pay gap has come down to a record low of 14.2 per cent, down from 17.2 per cent under the previous Labor Government. Importantly, the unemployment rate has remained steady. There are more than 1.2 million new jobs that have been created since the Coalition came into government.

This is, as I said, a ringing endorsement that the Coalition Government’s plan is working. And if I can highlight one of the gold star achievers, New South Wales really must be noted. The unemployment rate in New South Wales has decreased by 1.2 percentage points over the year to 3.9 per cent in January 2019. This is the lowest rate recorded since the inception of this data in 1978 – which is a year after I was born. The level of employment in New South Wales was at a record high in January of 2019 at over four million people. Employment in New South Wales rose by 47,200 in January 2019 – the largest monthly increase on record in the state since November 1997. And the level of full-time employment in New South Wales rose by 49,100 in January of 2019 – to a record high of more than 2,831,000. The participation rate has also increased over the year to 65.2 per cent in January 2019, which is the equal highest rate on record. So, I think it’s also a demonstration that Premier Gladys Berejiklian and her plan for New South Wales is also working. Are there any questions?

JOURNALIST:

Are you concerned three quarters of all the full-time jobs and more than three quarters of all the jobs over the last 12 months have been in two states – New South Wales and Victoria? That’s where the jobs are being created. We’ve had Tassie’s unemployment rate jump. It’s 6.8 in WA and it’s lifted to a two-year high in South Australia. Why is it so focused on the two largest states?

KELLY O’DWYER:

New South Wales and Victoria are powerhouses of our economy and also powerhouses of jobs growth. We have seen an incredible amount of jobs growth in those two states, and in particular, as I mentioned, in New South Wales. It is a demonstration, in New South Wales particularly, that there is such a strong program to encourage investment. Investment, of course, encourages job creation, and job creation powers our economy. So, there is no question that we have some star performers. New South Wales and Victoria have been star performers, but it also goes to demonstrate that you do need to have a strong plan and all of this is at risk under a Labor Government.

Under a Labor Government, our economy would be slugged with more than $200 billion of new or increased taxes. That will directly impact our economy and it will directly impact every single Australian, and it has the potential to directly impact jobs. We know that Labor’s record when they were last in government was a very, very poor one. One out of every eight manufacturing jobs was lost under the previous Labor Government. We don’t want to return to those dark days.

JOURNALIST:

Minister, Westpac chief economist Bill Evans just said that the RBA is going to be forced to cut official interest rates twice because the economy is slowing, unemployment’s likely to rise. Is this as good as it gets?

KELLY O’DWYER:

Well look, I’m not going to comment on some commentary that’s just happened, and I haven't seen that commentary. Obviously, the RBA needs to do the job that it is there to do. The RBA, of course, has said that when you actually increase employment, you are also going to see an increase in wage growth as well. And they’ve said that because full-time employment – and we have seen a huge increase in full-time employment – takes up the slack in the labour market and of course, that has a flow on impact into increasing the wages that people obviously take home. But it's not just about your take-home wages. It's also how much you are taxed as well. And we know that under a Labor Government, there will be less money in your pocket with the more than $200 billion of new or increased taxes that they would slug you.

JOURNALIST:

Your own MYEFO forecast are all higher than the RBA's latest forecasts, every single one of them. You’re going to have to in the Budget, have to actually adjust your forecast to show that even Treasury thinks the economy is starting to slow.

KELLY O’DWYER:

Well look, the Budget is not far away, and in fact, having been to an Expenditure Review Committee meeting this morning and going to one of those meetings again this evening, I can tell you that we are doing the hard work on the Budget right now. Obviously, the Budget is for the Treasurer to announce, there’s not all that long for you to wait, so I will leave comment on what is in the Budget to him at the appropriate time.

JOURNALIST:

Minister, youth unemployment is still more than twice the national average; there’s been very little movement in this space for a long, long time. What is the government specifically doing about this issue?

KELLY O’DWYER:

It’s very important that we give young people the opportunity to be able to get a job. And it’s important that we actually create pathways for young people to be able to get a job. Let's not forget that there are a very significant number of young people now who are also in education, higher than obviously when we came into government. We want to give them the ability to be able to use that education and to be able to get great jobs. Now, as jobs minister, there are many wonderful opportunities and wonderful programs to be able to get those jobs, and most important for those young people, who are looking to get their first job, is to get the right experience. The Youth Jobs PaTH program is one such program that allows young people to be able to get the sort of training that they need, to get the experience that they need that ultimately will lead to a job.

JOURNALIST:

Estimates yesterday found that a fraction of what the government had accounted for on jobs PaTH, less than a third of people actually attained any kind of full-time work out of that program.

KELLY O’DWYER:

Youth employment has grown by 2.1 per cent over the year, and it is 39,000 higher than it was 12 months ago. The youth unemployment rate remains well below the 12.2 per cent that we saw in January of 2018, and youth full-time employment is up, 6,100, which is about 0.7 per cent over the year. We know that youth unemployment is still too high at 11.5 per cent. And that is why the Government is focused on making sure that we get the economic settings right to be able to encourage businesses to invest and to create new job opportunities, and those job opportunities will be there for young people in Australia.

JOURNALIST:

I just want to come back. You mentioned how great Victoria and Gladys Berejiklian are doing in New South Wales. What are you saying to Will Hodgman or Steven Marshall, and Mark McGowan with those unemployment rates of 7, 6.3, and 6.8, are high historically? Are you telling people to move New South Wales and Victoria to get a job opportunity?

KELLY O’DWYER:

Well, I am saying that we give them a gold star. That New South Wales and Victoria get a gold star for their gold-medal performance when it comes to job creation, that’s what I am saying. I’m saying that the plan that the Coalition Government has put in place to create jobs is working. And it’s working now and we are seeing the results right now. But as I said before, it is all at risk. It is all at risk under a Shorten Labor Government that would slug our economy with more than $200 billion of new or increased taxes.

JOURNALIST:

On the gender pay gap, Labor has made some proposals about putting an amendment into the Fair Work Act. Is there anything specific the Government has in mind to address or to keep shrinking that gap?

KELLY O’DWYER:

As Minister, not only for jobs but also as Minister for Women, I released the Women's Economic Security Statement last year. The Women's Economic Security Statement is all about giving women an equal stake in our society and in our economy and making sure that women get a fair go when it comes to employment and a pathway back into employment. There were a number of measures that we announced in that statement that particularly help those women who are looking to return to work after having perhaps taken time out to care for children. We are also making sure that for those women who aspire to run and operate their own businesses, to also employ other fellow Australians, that they be given the boost that they need to be given in order to make that a reality. So the Government has extensive achievements on this front, we always know that there is more to do, but that is why we have the Women's Economic Security Statement, and that is why it has been such a strong focus of our Government. Thank you.

[ENDS]

 

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