The Turnbull Government’s focus has been and continues to be on job creation. We’ve continued to focus on growing the economy to support businesses and jobs. Our record speaks for itself. There were 403,100 jobs created in 2017, including 303,400 full-time jobs, the most number of full-time jobs on record created in a calendar year. You can’t argue with that. Since the coalition government was elected in September of 2013, more than one million jobs have been created and total employment is at a record high.

If we look at some of the initiatives around youth unemployment, we have the Youth Employment Package and—one that I think works really well—the Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare-Trial-Hire) that has worked so well for many young people who were struggling to work. There is no doubt the government’s economic policies are driving confidence and investment, but it is businesses themselves that are creating these jobs. It is often the case that they are small to medium enterprises. We’ve seen this prompted in regional areas by tax relief for small business, the lowest tax rate for 78 years. We know small to medium businesses, particularly small businesses, often give people their first job and their last job, particularly in rural and regional areas. If I look at the free trade agreements, they have also helped to prompt more jobs growth in regional areas.

Then I look at Albemarle, which is going to be building a lithium plant in my electorate. It is looking at five different trains of processing over time, processing between 20,000 and 100,000 tonnes per annum of lithium hydroxide. That’s going to employ between 300 and 500 people in the construction phase and around 500 people during operations.
This will have a 25-year life. This is a $1.3 billion project. I went along to one of their meetings, and the most important thing for the people in the room was the opportunity for jobs, even for other businesses that may be able to get involved in that supply chain. We’ve seen the requirements for plumbers, electricians, the refrigeration trades, the mechanical and metal trades, building and form workers, steel fixers, scaffolders, rigging, dogging, mobile plant operators, truck drivers, crane operators, labourers—you name it, and they’re going to be part of what is a really good project in my electorate.

Then I look at what Labor is proposing for places like the south-west—$200 billion worth of higher taxes. They’ve already announced $164 billion in higher taxes. We know about the retiree tax—that plan to stop Australians from receiving refunds of tax paid on their share dividends. It’s a reintroduction of a double taxation, and it will hurt mostly low-income earners and future pensioners. It will hurt most of those people who’ve worked hard and assumed responsibility for managing their savings. We’ve got Labor’s housing tax, Labor’s investment tax and Labor’s tax return tax. It goes on and on. We’ve got Labor’s higher income tax and Labor’s family business tax. We’ve got a savings tax from Labor and we’ve got the tradie tax. We’ve got Labor’s growth tax—higher taxes on business earnings. We are seeing tax upon tax upon tax proposed by Labor. That’s what’s ahead for people. It’s going to be a very clear decision.

When I look at the businesses in my part of the world, I see the numbers of those small to medium sized enterprises that, through the decisions and policies of this government, have actually been able to invest in their own future. That’s what you see with small to medium sized enterprises: people who have the confidence, the courage and the will to go out and achieve for themselves. They invest their own money. As you know, they often mortgage their house and their car, and they go out and have a go. They’re the people who go on and employ others. We’ve seen this repeatedly in rural and regional areas. That’s one of the things that I think this government has done particularly well: providing the policy settings that have encouraged aspiration and encouraged small to medium sized enterprises to not only invest in themselves but employ others. I have seen it frequently. Albemarle is just one of those in a major business sense—a major new industry, a major new processing capability in my electorate—and I’m looking forward to the additional jobs that are going to be created on the back of sound policy decisions.