Deputy PM aims to soften impact of world financial problems
Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard plans for construction, retail and hospitality sectors to lead a surge to soften the impact of the global financial crisis.
Also Employment Minister, Ms Gillard said her priority was to fuel employment growth in key labour-intensive sectors.
She detailed further changes to the Government's Job Network employment services scheme, to expedite finding jobs for the unemployed.
"We want to make sure we are taking steps to support keeping Australians in work," she said.
"We're expecting an increase in unemployment, but at the same time we are investing in the creation of Australian jobs," the Deputy PM said.
She added that it had not been widely understood that the Government's recent $10.4 billion economic rescue package was, to a large degree, a jobs plan.
"Payments to pensioners and families are to make sure the economy continues to grow next year and that's important for jobs, particularly in the retail and hospitality sector," she said.
"It also flows into the manufacturing and agriculture sector, depending on what people buy."
Ms Gillard said the provision of $AU21,000 for first-home buyers purchasing new homes was "all about jobs".
"Construction is one of the most labour-intensive sectors we have," she said.
Creation of 56,000 extra training places in the stimulus package was also important in addressing skills shortages that still existed.
Ms Gillard said the existing Job Network required people to have been unemployed for a certain length of time before they qualified for extra help in finding a job. The new system would assess job seekers and make additional assistance available immediately.
Potential for increased unemployment amid a slowing economy has prompted the Government to consider cutting the nation's migrant intake, she added.
Ms Gillard said the rapidly changing global crisis had to be taken into account as the Government set its numbers.
Employers seeking 457 visas for temporary skilled migrant workers, for example, had been told to first check if Australians were available to fill vacant jobs, she said.
"The Prime Minister and the Immigration Minister have indicated we set our immigration numbers in light of economic conditions," Ms Gillard said.
"We are going to keep it under very close review."
"We are in a position to adjust the numbers."