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    Media Statements

    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment
    The Honourable Curtis Pitt

    Focus on jobs creation continues

    Treasurer and Minister for Trade and Investment
    The Honourable Curtis Pitt

    Thursday, March 16, 2017

    Focus on jobs creation continues

    Treasurer Curtis Pitt says today’s unemployment figures underline the need for the Palaszczuk Government to continue focusing on job creation.

    “Confidence is returning to Queensland and our economy is kicking into gear after some years of uncertainty under the LNP, but we need this positivity to translate into jobs,” he said.

    “Labor isn’t shying away from this challenge; just last month we took action by extending our successful $20,000 Youth Boost program through to October to give businesses an incentive to hire unemployed young people aged between 15-24.

    “I am concerned we have seen a slight rise in today’s trend figure of 6.4 per cent – up from a revised 6.3 per cent in January – but this is still an improvement on the 6.7 per cent peak we saw for four months in 2014 under the LNP.

    “A net total of 33,700 jobs have been created in Queensland since the election and we’ve seen Queensland's trend unemployment decrease 0.2 of a percentage point since the election – from the 6.6 per cent we inherited from Tim Nicholls.

    “On average 1,350 jobs have been created each month since January 2015.

    “While we saw 1,500 jobs created last month alone, I want to see our unemployment rate below 6 per cent which means there is more work to be done, especially in regional Queensland.

    “Clearly our unrelenting focus on job creation and the proactive policies we’ve implemented to aid economic recovery in the wake of the LNP years are giving businesses the confidence to hire as we grow the economy.

    “We’ve seen four quarters of positive growth in State Final Demand which followed eight negative quarters, so we expect employment growth to flow through in coming months."

    The highly volatile seasonally adjusted unemployment rate in February was 6.7 per cent compared with 6.3 per cent in January.

    “This is well below the 7.1 per cent peak in the seasonally adjusted rate under the LNP, but the large variations seen today again highlight why we have consistently used the trend figures which provide greater consistency when making comparisons month to month and year to year,” said Mr Pitt.

    “To combat this, we have a $40 billion four-year infrastructure program with $10.7 billion earmarked for 2016-17 supporting an estimated 31,000 jobs – and almost half the 2016-17 infrastructure spending ($4.9 billion) targeted to regional Queensland and job creation.

    “While our economic fundamentals are strong, what we need to see is the Turnbull Government stepping up to match our programs and taking a leadership role in supporting employment and jobs growth in Queensland.

    “Despite the Abbott and Turnbull Governments blocking Queensland from their $5 billion Asset Recycling initiative, no projects under the Northern Australia Infrastructure Facility and no money on the table for important projects like Cross River Rail or the M1 on the Gold Coast – Queensland Labor is pushing ahead.

    “Queensland posted a record $52.7 billion in exports last year and this quarter’s results are so strong we’re already on track to break that new record.

    “Tuesday’s NAB Business confidence survey reported Queensland at +11, which is much higher than the national average of +8 and more than double the confidence level in NSW which sits at +5 points.

    “We are on track to be the fastest growing state in 2016-17, with the latest ABS statistics showing growth in State Final Demand for the December quarter of 0.5% in trend terms.

    “Annual growth in retail spending in QLD is higher than both NSW and Victoria and well above the national average.”

    Employment initiatives rolled out by the Palaszczuk Labor Government include:

    • A $200 million Jobs and Regional Growth Package incorporating an additional $160 million in new funding on top of the existing $40 million Advance Queensland Industry Attraction Program
    • A $200 million Works for Queensland program to support local councils to undertake job-creating, maintenance or minor infrastructure projects.
    • A $100 million Back to Work package giving regional employers incentives to hire unemployed people
    • More than $440 million for the Accelerated Works Program to bring forward projects to stimulate economic activity in regions.
    • The $405 million Advance Queensland Package to foster innovation and investment in jobs of the future as well as develop new jobs in our traditional strengths such as agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, education, and health,
    • Doubling of the payroll tax rebate from 25% to 50% for employers hiring trainees or apprentices. Almost 3,500 businesses have so far taken advantage of concessions worth $17.8 million,
    • Reintroduction of the Skilling Queenslanders for Work program axed by the Newman-Nicholls Government with $240 million over four years to help an estimated 32,000 jobseekers train for and secure jobs.
    • The $33.5 million Advance Queensland Connecting with Asia Strategy to boost tourism, flights and local jobs, with an extra $128.3 million over four years providing funding certainty to Tourism and Events Queensland.

     

    Note: Queensland Treasury advises that all data should be treated with caution until the ABS evaluates a new seasonal pattern from late 2017. Trend estimates provide the best measure of labour market conditions across the states.

     

    Contact:  0447 316 432 / 0419 945 546