MINISTER CASH: Well the announcement today of the labour force figures shows the underlying strength in the growing economy. What we've seen today is that in the last nine months, there have been approximately 160,000 jobs created. What we've also seen is that in the last 12 months, under the Coalition Government, there have been approximately 230,000 jobs created. So certainly, when it comes to growing jobs in Australia, once we are given that opportunity to implement our agenda, we can see an acceleration in jobs growth.
I'm also delighted in—putting on my Minister for Women hat —that the increase in employment of females is at a record, all time high. I'm also pleased to see that the figures show that there has been a decrease in the number of youth unemployed. In saying all of that though, and there is good news, the unemployment rate—while it remains at 6.2 per cent —is still too high. And that is why when this Government came to office in September 2013, we came to office with an agenda. And that agenda was one in which we wanted to invest in infrastructure to grow our economy.
Because you know when you make investments, when you make investments in infrastructure and you grow the economy, you create jobs. And this is a government that is all about job creation. Why? Because we know that the best form of welfare is work. And since 2014, when you've seen the change in the Senate in July, we have been able to get our agenda through. We've abolished the mining tax, we've abolished the carbon tax; we’ve got the jobactive programme up and running. We've been able to implement our families and small business package. We're making changes to childcare. And we have a very, very strong strategy in relation to getting those who are not in employment into employment.
And so whilst today at 6.2 per cent, as I've said, the unemployment figure still does remain too high, I am pleased to see that when you look at that overall trend over the last nine months, but I think in particular over the last 12 months, what it does show is that when you have a Coalition Government that is able to implement its strong agenda, you will see jobs created in Australia.
QUESTION: Minister, how concerned are you that over the past month 14,000 - or almost 14,000 - full time jobs have gone?
MINISTER CASH: Well certainly again as I've said, I prefer to look at it over that long term average, and when you look at the number of jobs that have been created since we came into government, since September 2013 we're now seeing approximately 310,000 jobs have been created. Since the change in the Senate, we've obviously been able to work with the crossbenchers since 1 July 2014, you've seen the Coalition's job creation agenda being implemented. That's just not me saying that, that is certainly reflected in those figures, the figures of, in the last nine months, approximately 160,000 jobs being created.
And certainly, in the year to date, I think our job creation is at approximately two per cent versus that decade trend of 1.7 per cent. So the signs are very healthy.
QUESTION: What do you make of today's- there was an article in today's Fin Review by the former boss of the ABS, he's suggesting that some of the statistics that are being analysed by the ABS when it comes to unemployment figures and unemployment data, that some of their analysis and methodology has been bungled. Do you have faith in the ABS?
MINISTER CASH: Ah yes I do, because the statistician with the ABS has come out and said that he is comfortable with the figures. But also in October of 2014, the ABS did have a review into its methodology. There was a report, there were 16 recommendations, and the ABS accepted all of those recommendations. But certainly, you know, they're the ABS's figures. We as a government rely on those, because we expect those figures to be robust, and I am pleased that the ABS statistician has come out and said he stands by those figures.
QUESTION: Do you have any comments on South Australia? Clearly they are trailing the rest of the nation.
MINISTER CASH: Look, and again in relation to South Australia, it does have a high unemployment rate. But then you look at specifically what the Government is doing for South Australia, and certainly in recognition of the fact that there is a change in the nature of its economy, as the car industry does exit. I mean, we have the Growth Fund. We have recognised that there is a transition that's happening, and we are investing in that transition. You also though look at the infrastructure investments that we've made in roads in South Australia. That's almost a billion dollars in investment, that during the construction phase is going to support in excess of 400 hundred jobs.
And of course then there's the CHAFTA. I saw that the Shadow Minister was out here earlier, you know, criticising the unemployment figure at 6.2 per cent. You know, I say to the Shadow Minister, if you really are dinkum about job creation in this country, support the passage of the CHAFTA through the Parliament. In particular, he was questioned about South Australia and again was highly critical of the Government. Look at the opportunities that are going to be created in South Australia as a result of the CHAFTA. The opportunities for the wine industry. The opportunities for the agricultural industry. You know, Labor are very good at talking, but look at their actions. They have been against the CHAFTA, because of the CFMEU, from day one.
Trade, increased trade equals increased jobs, and the benefits of the CHAFTA will be good for South Australia.
QUESTION: What is the breakdown of the jobs under the CHAFTA for South Australia? How much would you expect to see in South Australia?
MINISTER CASH: Well certainly I think everybody knows that increased trade equals increased jobs. So in terms of the increased jobs for South Australia, there will be jobs created, and those are in particular in the agricultural industry and the wine industry. Come on board, support the CHAFTA; that's what I say to Brendan O'Connor and Bill Shorten.
QUESTION: Are you concerned at a time of high unemployment that Westpac's putting up its mortgage rates?
MINISTER CASH: Well certainly you know the Treasurer has made an announcement in relation to that, I see that was a decision by Westpac. Other banks have not followed suit, but again I would leave that for the Treasurer.
QUESTION: Just on today's release of the Fair Work report into CFMEU, the 1000 crimes that have been committed, that's what's been suggested. Can you expand on that?
MINISTER CASH: Oh look I can, and again, what this shows is that within the construction industry, there is still a culture of fear; there is still a culture of intimidation. I mean, the statistics from the independent regulator, the independent umpire showed that in the last year alone, there have been 1000 breaches of various types of law by the CFMEU on construction sites throughout Australia. And again I find it ironic that Labor has come out today and has downplayed this. So on one hand they are saying we want more jobs created, but on the other hand they are quite happy to support lawlessness within the construction sector. If you want more jobs, you want a construction sector in Australia that functions properly. And again, all I'd say to Brendan O'Connor and to Bill Shorten is, there is a bill, we can bring it back next week if you wanted to, it will restore the Australian Building and Construction Commission, and what that will do is ensure that there is a tough cop on the street, and the headlines that we see today that are based on fact, coming out of the annual report, will no longer be seen.
But they won't do that, because they like to talk, but judge them by their actions, because their actions, quite frankly, speak louder than their words. Thanks everybody.