Doorstop, Parliament House, Canberra

Transcript
  • Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

E&OE

Subject/s: ABS Labour Force figures, wages, personal income tax relief, John Setka, payroll tax

MINISTER CASH:

Well, good afternoon. Today, we have seen the release of the labour force figures for May 2019. The unemployment rate in Australia remains steady at 5.2 per cent. The Government is pleased that the economy in May created in excess of 42,000 jobs. What is particularly pleasing is that we now have record employment in Australia of almost 12.9 million people. We also have record full-time employment in Australia. When we were elected in 2013, we said that we would put in place the policies to ensure that the economy and of course employers were able to create jobs. Since we’ve been elected in 2013, we have seen the economy create now almost 1.4 million jobs. We have also taken to the Australian people a commitment to put in place the right policies to enable the creation of a further 1.25 million jobs over the next five years.

What is very pleasing with today’s figures is the participation rate. The participation rate is now at a record high of 66 per cent. The participation rate is the worker out there who is putting up their hands and saying: I am ready, willing and able to undertake employment and I have confidence in the jobs market. So, 1.4 million jobs have been created since the Coalition was elected to office in 2013. The unemployment rate today remains steady at 5.3 per cent but the economy continues to create jobs, and that is why we are just getting on with what the Australian people elected us to do and that is, of course, acting in their best interests.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

MINISTER CASH:

In terms of wages, wages have been rising. They may not have been rising as quickly as people wanted them to, but they are certainly rising and they are rising faster than CPI. The point on wages is, that when we return to the Parliament in but a few weeks’ time in the first week of July, we will put our entire tax plan to the Parliament. The Australian people, they endorse the Coalition Government’s tax plan. Why did they do that? Because they, of all people, know that it’s their hard-earned money that we are giving back to them. If they get more of their hard-earned money, that means they are able to go out and spend and stimulate the economy.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

MINISTER CASH:

If you look at job creation over the last 12 months, the economy has created 360,000 jobs, almost 75 per cent of those jobs were actually full-time jobs. So, the economy is creating full-time jobs. If you look at the figures in Australia, I will not stand here and demand any form of employment. Whether it’s full-time work or part-time work; all types work has a place. But certainly over the last 12 months, we’ve actually seen three-quarters of the jobs created be full-time jobs, and today’s labour force figures also show that we had record full-time employment in Australia. The economy is doing what we need to do.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

MINISTER CASH:

We would like to see an Australian who puts their hand up and wants a job to be able to get a job. And that is why the Prime Minister took a very clear plan to the election. As a Government, we put in place the policies so that the economy can create, over the next five years, an additional 1.25 million jobs. We have a strong record of job creation under this Government – almost 1.4 million jobs have been created since we came to office. And over the last 12 months the majority of those jobs have been full-time jobs.

JOURNALIST: What’s the Government actually doing about to get young people get more hours of work?

MINISTER CASH:  

That is a very, very good question. When you look at youth unemployment, it has remained steady, just under 11-12 per cent. I have always said that youth unemployment in Australia is unacceptably high. The good news is, under this Government, we have seen in excess of 100,000 young people getting jobs last year. That’s a good thing. But we still need to do more. It was two budgets ago now, when the current Prime Minister was the Treasurer. We invested $800,000 in the PaTH Program. This is all about getting our youth off welfare and into work. We have seen now in excess of 300,000 young people go through that program and get a job. But we will not stop there. We’re going to ensure the creation of an additional 80,000 positions in this term of Government. We will also put in place programs to ensure that Australians, in particular young Australians, have the skills that employers are telling us that they need.

So this Government has a strong record when it comes to getting youth off welfare and into work, and I will remind you that welfare dependency in Australia is at its lowest in many years. But we won’t stop there. We have set out to create an additional 1.25 million jobs. We will put in place the policies to do that.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

MINISTER CASH:  

Well, certainly, that is ultimately a decision for the Attorney-General, so I would leave that to him.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

MINISTER CASH:  

Okay, let’s get one thing very, very clear on the John Setka issue. You have the new leader of the Labor Party, Anthony Albanese, on one hand shaking his finger and saying: John Setka has to go from the Labor Party. But that is nothing more and nothing less than weasel words; because you see, on the other hand what you have is a Labor Party that is committed to the CFMMEU. They still take money. They accept donations from the CFMMEU. Whilst the Labor Party are in receipt of any form of money from the CFMMEU, everything that they are currently saying about Mr Setka and their need to sever ties with him quite frankly falls on deaf ears.

Mr Setka and the CFMMEU currently have 70 officials before the courts. They’ve been fined in excess of $16 million by the courts for inappropriate behaviour. Mr Setka himself, just Google. John Setka rap sheet for all to see. Quite frankly, nothing more and nothing less than weasel words. Anthony Albanese, as leader of the Australian Labor Party and any other Labor Member that stands up in front of you and says Mr Setka should go, whilst they are still taking donations from the CFMMEU, they are still tied to them.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

MINISTER CASH:  

Well, ultimately, I believe that it is for the Australian Labor Party to step up and cut ties CFMMEU. I recall when we were restoring Australian building infrastructure; the fight that we had with Labor because they had made promises to CFMMEU. Come hell or high water, they would not ensure that there was law and order in infrastructure industry, and Mr Setka was part of that at the time. This is known. This is a man, Mr Setka, who told an employee of the ABCC that he hoped they had cancer. This is a man who proudly addressed people saying that they would release the names of ABCC inspectors for all to see, so that the family – and I’m paraphrasing here – would be ashamed of them. This man has a rap sheet as long as one’s arm. But he is not the issue. Let’s not be side tracked by Mr Setka as being the issue. You can wave your finger all you like, but whilst the Australian Labor Party are still financially tied to the CFMMEU – they’re weasel words and nothing more.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

MINISTER CASH:

The reality is the Government does not have numbers in the Senate. Welcome to the world of the Australian Senate. That’s certainly again a question for the Attorney-General to determine. I think the Prime Minister has made it incredibly clear that our tax plan, our tax plan, tax relief to Australians – a long-term strategy to ensure that the Australian people had more money in their back pocket. That is our priority. This is not only about Mr Setka; this is about the Australian Labor Party. Mr Albanese’s standing there, as are many other members of the Australian Labor Party, and saying: Mr Setka has to go, but whilst they are financially tied to the CFMEU they are nothing more and nothing less than weasel words.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

MINISTER CASH:

I think that the Prime Minister and the Minister for Finance have been very clear. We took a very clear plan to the Australian people at the recent federal election. That included all three stages of our plan for income tax relief. Both the Prime Minister and the Minister for Finance have said that will be the plan that we will be presenting to the Parliament. Bearing in mind that on 18th of May, which is really only but a few weeks ago, the Australian people voted to endorse that plan. The test is now, well another test for Anthony Albanese. He said he’s on a listening tour. Well, certainly, the feedback that I have seen throughout the entire election campaign from people on the street, hardworking Australians, is that they want a Government that’s going to pass tax reform. If Mr Albanese is genuine about listening to the Australian people he will respect the fact that they voted to endorse the Government’s tax plan in full.

JOURNALIST: What would you like to see it happen? Would you like to see it happen?

MINISTER CASH:

It’s not whether I would like to see them deregistered; it is whether or not their behaviour is so abhorrent that they need to be deregistered. This is a man who that has been described as the most recidivist corporate offender in Australia’s history. This is a union who has in excess of 71 members currently before the courts – hundreds and hundreds of charges. This is a union that has been fined in excess of $16 million. And I’m so sorry, Phil. I’m so sorry, Phil, but I’m not going to sit here and articulate the Government’s agenda. Ultimately, that is for the Attorney-General, the Prime Minister and the Minister for Finance. The Minister for Finance has made it very clear our number one priority – and we’re not going to back away from this – is delivering to the Australian people the tax relief that they deserve.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

MINISTER CASH:

As the Minister for Small and Family Business, it is the one issue that is consistently raised with me as I travel across the country. It’s the state’s issue, but it is the issue of payroll tax. Most small business people would say to you, payroll tax is a disincentive to employment. I come from the side of politics that believes in lowering taxes. Our first order of business is to deliver on our plan for tax relief. We have already passed, as a Federal Government, tax relief for small and family businesses. And the feedback that I get from them is that it will go a long way to helping them employ more people.

JOURNALIST: [Inaudible]

MINISTER CASH:

Look, I’m always happy to sit down with my counterparts in any state or territory and talk about how we can work together to put in place the policies that will ensure, that in particular, in my portfolios today, that small and family businesses in Australia are able to prosper and grow because when small and family businesses grow so does our economy. As we know, they create more jobs for Australians, and that’s a beautiful segue into why we are here today producing employment figures, and the economy continues to create jobs.

Thank you very much.

ENDS

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