Subject/s: ABS Labour Force Figures, Newstart allowance, interest rates and Liza Harvey.
MINISTER CASH: Today, we have had the release of the labour force figures for the month of June 2019. What they show us is that employment in Australia has now seen 11 consecutive months of employment growth and that is a good thing for all Australians. The unemployment rate remains steady at 5.2%. We have seen in excess of 20,000 full time jobs created by the economy in the month of June. We have some real positives in terms of the labour force figures, employment in Australia is now at record high of almost 13 million people. We have record full time employment in Australia, we have Australians showing their confidence in the jobs market with a participation rate remaining steady, at what was a record high last month, of 66%.
I’m very pleased that since we were elected to office in 201, the economy, that is the businesses out there, have created almost 1.4 million jobs and around 58% of those jobs have been full time jobs. In the last 12 months, from June to June, we have seen the economy create almost 300,000 jobs and around 83% of those jobs have been full time jobs. So, certainly employment growth in Australia continues, 11 consecutive months of employment growth. That is a great thing for the Australian people, but also the record highs. A record number of Australians in employment, a record number of people of full time employment, but also the confidence in the jobs market as reflected by yet again, a record participation rate remaining strong at 66%. Any questions?
JOURNALIST: Commentary about the unemployment rate these days seems to be about whether it will stay steady or go up, rather than go down. Do you think the rate could get worse before it gets better because there's mixed results?
MINISTER CASH: The Government is focused on job creation. The unemployment rate, as you know, on a month to month basis it fluctuates. Our role as a Government is to put in place the right economic framework so that the business is out there are able to prosper, grow, and create more jobs for Australians. When you look at the decade average of employment growth, the current employment trend is well above the decade average. When you look at where the economy is in terms of jobs growth, we've now seen with the labour force figures for June 11 months of consecutive jobs growth.
As a Government, the Prime Minister made it very, very clear, both last year before the election and this year after the election, we are a job creating Government. Almost 1.4 million jobs have been created since we were elected to office. The Prime Minister has made a commitment to the Australian people that over the next five years, we will put in place the right economic framework to create an additional 1.25 million jobs. We are focused on getting those economic fundamentals right so that the business is out there can continue to lever off them, prosper, grow and create more jobs for Australians, which is what we are seeing with the release of the June labour force data.
JOURNALIST: Is the possibility of higher unemployment in a weakening economy the reason why your Government is not looking at increasing the amount for Newstart?
MINISTER CASH: That is a very, very separate question. We have always stated that Newstart is there to sustain you whilst you are looking for work. Our focus as a Government is getting people off Newstart and into a job and we make no excuses for that. As a Government, the Prime Minister has said this on so many occasions, the best form of welfare is a job. We make no excuses for that as a Government and our concerted focus is very much on putting in place the right economic framework so that the business out there the job creators of this country, they are able to create jobs. What we’ve seen in the June labour force figures confirms it for us, 11 consecutive months of employment growth. A record number of Australians in employment, a record number of Australians in full time jobs and a record number of Australians showing confidence in the jobs market with a participation rate of 66%. So again, our focus as a Government will always be on getting people off welfare and into work because the best form of welfare is a job.
JOURNALIST: Does the steadiness of the unemployment rate raise the prospect of future interest rate cuts?
MINISTER CASH: That is a decision ultimately for the RBA, which is an independent body. But I do note, in their latest commentary the RBA have stated that employment growth in Australia does remain strong. Again, this is reflected in what we have seen today with the release of the labour force data for June.
JOURNALIST: Western Australian question. The unemployment rate has gone down in Western Australia but it's still a lot higher than the numbers in New South Wales and Victoria. What can you do for West Australians as a local senator to increase job prospects here?
MINISTER CASH: It is an interesting one in Western Australia because the participation rate still remains incredibly strong here. So, Western Australians themselves do have confidence in the jobs market. But in particular, what can we as a Federal Government do -it is all about working with the State Government or should I say the State Government working with us, to implement our infrastructure spend in Western Australia. Infrastructure spend creates jobs and we need to work closely with the Western Australian Government to ensure that the infrastructure projects, which have been earmarked, they get off the ground because construction creates jobs.
JOURNALIST: Liza Harvey is talking about bringing back Roe 8, if she gets elected as Premier, would you still be backing that?
MINSTER CASH: Ultimately that is a decision for Liza Harvey as she moves towards the next election. Certainly from the Federal Government's perspectives, the infrastructure spend, which we are backing has already been set out and I'd leave that commentary to Lisa Harvey.
JOURNALIST: Do you think people should be forced into default super funds or should they always get to choose?
MINISTER CASH: The Liberal National Party are, we are a party that believes in choice. It should be a person's choice as to what they do with their superannuation in terms of where it's put - whether they want to manage it themselves, versus a self-managed superannuation fund. So certainly we have a fundamental belief that Australians should be able to choose. Thank you very much guys.