REGIONAL EMPLOYMENT

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS         (         14:29         :58         ):  My question is directed to the Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills. Will the minister indicate whether she has been briefed on how many jobs will be lost in regional South Australia as a result of the ForestrySA job cuts, emergency services levy hikes, emergency services organisational mergers and the government's marine parks policy?

The Hon. G.E. GAGO         (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers)         (         14:30         :27         ):  I thank the honourable member for his question. This government focuses very strongly on jobs. It is one of our key priorities, particularly for our regions. One of our priorities is ensuring that all South Australians are afforded the opportunity to undertake meaningful employment, wherever they live.     

We were very pleased to see that the recent employment figures improved significantly here in South Australia for the last month. In particular, the unemployment rate has fallen for regional South Australia in the last data that came out from 7 per cent to 6.6 per cent. I was also pleased to see that four regions have seen an increase in employment, compared with the previous year.    

This government continues to work with businesses and industry and with local communities to attract investment and to help create regional jobs. Our jobs and skills policy sets out a strong strategy for further job creation and includes direct support for job creation and new initiatives to work more closely with industry to identify emerging job opportunities in local communities.    

We have developed detailed plans for jobs and supported this through a raft of measures to help grow business: the pay-roll tax concession; reforms to WorkCover; providing help for businesses to win government work through initiatives such as the Tender Ready collaboration with Business SA; a $10 million Jobs Accelerator Fund for the regions; a new private sector development coordination role for the chief executive of Premier and Cabinet to assist lodged projects valued at over $3 million to help clear those bureaucratic hurdles; and the establishment of a new simpler regulation unit to help work with the industries.    

It is interesting that members opposite like to dwell on all the negatives and talk down the state; we see that time and again. We do not see them standing up and talking about opportunities, for instance, the Nyrstar recent announcement to commence building its construction camp at Port Pirie, the Sundrop Farms, a great new story there for more jobs out in the regions, D'VineRipe and its new expansions, and investments and the opportunity for jobs quite near where the honourable member actually lives.    

         The Hon. J.S.L. Dawkins:  It is in my electorate.    

         The Hon. G.E. GAGO:  It is in all our electorates, but it is quite near to where you live. I do not see him getting up and congratulating this government for creating those jobs. No, we see them coming into this place time and again talking down the state, dwelling on those things that offer challenges for us rather than wanting to work with or be part of the government's initiative to grow investment and business opportunities here in South Australia and grow jobs.

 

The Hon. J.S.L. DAWKINS         (         14:34         :28         ):  By way of supplementary question, has the minister seen any modelling or analysis that proves the government's claim that its marine parks policy will not cost jobs in regional communities?         

         The Hon. G.E. GAGO         (Minister for Employment, Higher Education and Skills, Minister for Science and Information Economy, Minister for the Status of Women, Minister for Business Services and Consumers)         (         14:34         :39         ):  I have answered the question.