We've been focused on creating jobs for the last five years. We've been focused on creating jobs because the most important start for young Australians is the opportunity to have a job. It is great news for this country that more than a million jobs have been created over that period. Indeed 400,000 jobs, a record number of jobs, were created last year, in one calendar year.
Senator STOKER (Queensland) (14:43):
My question is to the minister representing the Minister for Jobs and Innovation, Senator Canavan. Can the minister update the Senate about how the government is building a strong economy in order to ensure job creation in Australia?
Senator CANAVAN (Queensland—Minister for Resources and Northern Australia) (14:44):
I thank Senator Stoker for that question. From day one, the Turnbull-McCormack government has been focused on creating jobs. We've been focused on creating jobs for the last five years. We've been focused on creating jobs because the most important start for young Australians is the opportunity to have a job. It is great news for this country that more than a million jobs have been created over that period. Indeed 400,000 jobs, a record number of jobs, were created last year, in one calendar year. We in the coalition understand that those jobs are not created from a room here in Canberra; they are created in farms, factories and offices all around our country. And it is those farms, factories and offices that we need to support so that we can create jobs. We do not support job creation in this country by focusing only on what goes on here in Canberra. We create jobs by focusing on the businesses that then go and employ people right around our country.
That is why we have cut taxes for businesses—because we support strong businesses that can have strong employment records. That is why we have signed free trade agreements right around the world with some of our biggest trading partners—China, Japan and Korea—and also across the Pacific region, because that will create more wealth, more income and more opportunity for businesses across Australia to employ people. It is why we are investing in infrastructure, with a record spend on infrastructure—on roads and dams across our country, building wealth in storing water to create more farming opportunities and more jobs there. It is why we support the wealth-producing industries of our country that put the things on a boat that allow us to buy things from overseas—our resources industry, our agricultural industry, our tourism industry—because we know our wealth and prosperity depend on the success of those businesses too. It is also why we are expanding into new industries and sectors, like defence, and building a defence industry in this country to further support job growth right around Australia.
Senator Stoker, a supplementary question?
Senator STOKER (Queensland) (14:46):
How is the government helping young Australians to find employment?
Senator CANAVAN (Queensland—Minister for Resources and Northern Australia) (14:46):
We do recognise that a strong employment market is probably more important for young Australians than for anyone else in this country, because it is they who are trying to start out in life. That is why we have policies to try and give young Australians a start. We have established a prepare, trial and hire program, the PaTH program, and that has supported the creation of more than 25,000 jobs for young people around Australia. In particular, in an area close to my heart, the area of Longman, just north of Brisbane in our great state of Queensland, 707 young Australians have received employability skills training under the PaTH program and 64 young people have participated in the internship program under the PaTH program. This is great news for those people who are seeking jobs and a start in life in the seat of Longman, and it shows how a coalition government is supporting businesses, supporting growth and supporting young people in getting a start in life.
Senator Stoker, a final supplementary question?
Senator STOKER (Queensland) (14:47):
Is the minister aware of any alternative approaches to job creation in Australia?
Senator CANAVAN (Queensland—Minister for Resources and Northern Australia) (14:47):
Yes, I think I am. As I've indicated, we believe we should work with businesses across Australia to create jobs. We should be supporting the business sector to do that. In a way, we agree that we should give peace a chance with the business sector, to support their jobs. But over there, their current leader—the current leader, at least, of the Labor Party—wants to have a war on business. That's the Labor Party's approach to supporting job growth in this country—it's to have a declared war on business in this country. The casualties of that war will be the young Australians, the jobseekers in this country, who will have limited opportunities because the Labor Party wants to go to war with business. Well, I think we're growing a coalition in this place, among us, on this side of parliament, and amongst some others in the Labor Party—like the member for Grayndler, Mr Albanese. They, too, want to give peace a chance. They want to start to create peace in our time with our business sector, to create jobs. And let's hope we can build that coalition in this place to create more jobs for all Australians.