South West jobs and economic growth

Job creation and economic growth are two things which are the core business of the Turnbull government. As the Prime Minister and the Minister for Employment have said repeatedly, this government understands that the best form of welfare is a job.

The latest figures from the ABS released just a few weeks ago showed that more Australians are in employment than ever before. A record 12,166,900 Australians are employed. A record 8,356,000 Australians are in full-time employment. Our employment figures have grown over the past nine months. Full-time employment has risen by 166,700 to the end of June—the largest increase in full-time employment in the first half of a year on record. Last financial year was the strongest financial year in terms of jobs growth that the country has seen since the global financial crisis. Since we were elected, more than 700,000 jobs have been created. Over 50 per cent of these have been full-time jobs. Additionally, there were over 175,000 job advertisements in June—the highest since mid-2011. Consumer confidence has risen 12 per cent since mid-September 2015, and retail sales were up around two per cent on the previous financial year.

These figures are not coincidental. The record employment figures are borne out of four years of sound economic management, giving business the confidence to grow. And they are the ones delivering jobs across Australia, especially in regional and rural areas.

The Turnbull government’s Youth Jobs PaTH is further evidence of this. Over 5,000 young Australians aged 15 to 24 are now employed as a result of PaTH, with 25 of these in the South West, and of course there will be many more ahead. This is just the beginning of this excellent initiative. Prospective employees aren’t the only winners out of PaTH, with businesses eligible for the Youth Bonus Wage Subsidy of up to $10,000 to assist them in taking on the extra staff they need to help grow their businesses.

Following the years of wasteful spending by the Labor government, the Liberal-led government’s free trade agreements with Korea, Japan and China are some of the reasons for the agricultural drivers that we see so often in rural and regional Australia. This is the focus of the coalition government.

Last week, along with the Prime Minister, I announced $1.5 million towards the Busselton foreshore redevelopment. This project will not only create jobs and economic growth; it will help to take Busselton towards being a world-class waterfront destination. These are the sorts of projects that foster economic growth. The Busselton jetty is the second-most-visited tourist attraction in Western Australia, and this will encourage further investment.

I also announced significant funding of over $2.3 million for the final stage of the Capel Civic Precinct, a
multipurpose community centre and youth space. It will be a lively hub for youth leisure, recreation and other activities. The Busselton-Margaret River airport upgrade is a transformative project in the South West which will open up the region to international and domestic tourists and freight and allow the region to reach more of its potential. The federal government committed over $9.73 million towards this project, and I cannot emphasise enough how significant this project is. I urge the state Labor government to honour the Barnett government’s funding of over $56 million for the project. Every dollar counts towards what will be a quality delivery of service for everyone who comes into this region.

We know that this government is the best friend that small business has had, cutting taxes for businesses with a turnover of less than $50 million, helping to keep us internationally competitive. We have extended the $20,000 instant asset write-off for small businesses with a turnover of $10 million until the end of this financial year.

It’s no wonder the country has record full-time employment and the largest increase in full-time employment in the first half of a calendar year. Governments don’t create jobs, businesses do; but they need the right drivers from government to be able to do so.

It is the Turnbull government that is creating the economic environment which, with the growing population, is seeing more people in work, more people in full-time employment and more people in small businesses having a go.