The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY (Leader of the Opposition) ( 14:27 ): I seek leave to make a brief explanation before asking the Minister for Employment a question about employment.
The Hon. D.W. RIDGWAY: As part of the 2010 election campaign, the then premier (Mike Rann) made a promise on behalf of the Labor Party and members opposite that they would deliver an extra 100,000 jobs in South Australia by 2016. As the minister will no doubt be aware, this Sunday marks the sixth anniversary of that promise, and, of course, as all members would know, we are in 2016.
Comparing the latest ABS statistics released last Thursday, there have only been 9,230 jobs created, in seasonally adjusted terms, over the period that Labor promised to create an extra 100,000 jobs—less than one-tenth of those promised. With respect to full-time jobs, South Australia has actually lost (and I think this is important, Mr President ) 12,340 jobs—more than 12,000 fewer South Australians in meaningful full-time employment which allows them to support their families and enjoy a quality of life that we all enjoy—over that same period. My questions are:
1.Does the minister think it is acceptable that there are over 12,000 fewer South Australians in full-time work now than at the time the Labor government promised to create an extra 100,000 jobs?
2.Given the Premier's remark that all cabinet ministers are responsible for job creation, will the minister concede that the Labor government has collectively failed to deliver on its promise to create an extra 100,000 jobs?
3.How will the government change its approach to supporting job creation given its abject failure to do so over the past 14 years?
The Hon. K.J. MAHER (Minister for Employment, Minister for Aboriginal Affairs and Reconciliation, Minister for Manufacturing and Innovation, Minister for Automotive Transformation, Minister for Science and Information Economy) ( 14:28 ): I thank the honourable member for his question. I think it is a good thing to have aspirational targets to aim for. I think the world is a very different place—
The Hon. D.W. Ridgway interjecting:
The PRESIDENT: Order! Allow the minister to answer your question.
The Hon. K.J. MAHER: The world is a very, very different place from six years ago. In that time, just over two years ago, the Hon. David Ridgway's mates in the federal government decided to withdraw funding for the automotive industry. It is a bit rich for him to march in here and ask questions about jobs in South Australia when he has done nothing—absolute silence about his federal mates' decision deliberately to chase the automotive industry out of this state. We know that is already starting to have an effect, and it will have further effects as Holden winds down towards the end of 2017.
Other things have happened. World commodity prices—and I am not blaming the federal Liberal government for that—have had a significant impact on job targets right around Australia. We can look at other things this federal Liberal government has done. The $80 billion worth of cuts over the next 10 years in health and education will certainly have an effect on jobs. There are many, many things that have changed in the last six years, and a number of them have been directly as a result of the decisions of the Hon. David Ridgway's federal Liberal mates.
The prevarication around the ongoing future of shipbuilding in South Australia is another thing that he could do something about but chooses not to. The promise for 12 submarines to be built in South Australia, which would allow for continuous refurbishment, will do a great thing for jobs in this state.
I do note that it was pleasing in the last jobs figures to see the continual trend to lowering of unemployment in South Australia. Certainly, over the last financial year South Australia has recorded the biggest decline in unemployment of any state in Australia. It is a good start and we are heading in the right direction, but there is more that can be done. As we transition from an economy that has relied on manufacturing so heavily, there will be a changing nature of employment. We are prepared to back those industries that have a desire and a capacity to grow, and that's just what we are doing.