Consideration in detail - Jobs

By Matt Keogh MP

09 November 2020

Watch Matt's speech here

Well, 2020 has been an amazing year, and we've been confronted by some huge challenges in our nation, starting with bushfires, followed by the COVID health crisis and the economic crisis that has followed from that. Therefore, creating jobs should be the Morrison government's biggest priority right now. They cannot leave people behind or let them go it alone. It's bad enough that their response to the pandemic has been too slow, too reactive and, admittedly, uncoordinated. But now they've delivered a budget that is racking up trillions of dollars worth of debt and doesn't help create the additional jobs that Australians need. Unemployment has been too high for too long. We've now got a situation where, in the budget that the government handed down only a few weeks ago, they are foreshadowing that an additional 160,000 Australians will be added to the jobless queues by Christmas. The jobless rate itself won't be going back to precrisis levels for more than four years. The Prime Minister has deliberately excluded 920,000 people aged over 35, and currently unemployed, from the government's hiring subsidy program.

Then, in Senate estimates only the other week, we found out that the Morrison government has also been found to be inflating the numbers of jobs that it will be creating under this budget. This JobMaker hiring credit not only excludes those over 35 but is actually expected to only make 45,000 jobs, or just 10 per cent of the 450,000 jobs that the government is claiming that the program will support. Treasury officials confirmed in Senate estimates that 90 per cent of the jobs that will be supported by the hiring credit will actually have occurred without taxpayer funded subsidies. The money will not even start flowing until February. While 450,000 people are eligible for the program, there will be only 45,000 new jobs that will actually be created under it. This revelation effectively means that this $4 billion program will cost nearly $90,000 per job, which is more than the average income of an Australian household. This is a further blow to businesses and jobseekers, who all need support during the hard economic times being confronted by the nation. Businesses need support to be able to bring on new jobs. People who are out of work need to see support in the economy for them to be able to get a job. This Morrison government love making announcements, but they seem to never deliver for the Australian people—450,000 out there in the headline, but 45,000 jobs down here in the real world.

Minister, given that your government's budget is all about jobs, why is it that your government's budget plan is for 160,000 more people to become unemployed by Christmas? What sort of confidence does a plan for more unemployment give Australians? The Treasurer delivered a budget where he said, 'This is a budget about jobs'—and he was right—but the government has admitted that the statistics, the measures in that budget, show that this 'budget about jobs' is about more unemployment, not less.