Michelle Lensink

Northern Economic Plan

A question to the Minster for Employment - Northern Economic Plan.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Thank you, Mr President. I seek leave to make a brief explanation before directing a question to the Minister for Employment on the subject of northern Adelaide's economic statistics.

Leave granted.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Recent labour market statistics show that unemployment in Adelaide's north—

The Hon. P. Malinauskas interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Order! The Hon. Ms Lensink has the floor. Will the honourable minister desist. It's only right that the Hon. Ms Lensink enjoys the respect of the council while asking a question. The Hon. Ms Lensink.

Members interjecting:

The PRESIDENT: Will the Hon. Mr Ridgway and the honourable minister desist.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Not everybody loves the police minister's voice as much as he does himself. Recent labour market statistics show that unemployment in Adelaide's north continues to be significantly higher than in the rest of the state. Throughout 2016, the unemployment rate in Elizabeth alone remained above 34 per cent, while in Smithfield it was over 24 per cent. My questions for the minister are:

1. Given these statistics illustrate that there has been next to no change in the
unemployment rate in many areas of the north and that some areas have actually increased, does it show that the Northern Economic Plan is simply not delivering for people of the north?

2. When can the people in the northern suburbs expect to see the benefits of the
Northern Economic Plan and the expected increase in economic activity and employment opportunities?

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): I thank the honourable member for her question, which I think is in many ways almost identical to a question asked in the last sitting week, or the sitting week before, by the Hon. Jing Lee. I have to say, it was a better question when Jing Lee asked it a couple of weeks ago. It is good that they are reverting to a theme.

The Hon. Jing Lee should be very proud that her colleagues are rewriting her questions and asking them again. Over the year to March, the northern unemployment rate average was 8.2 per cent, which is above the state average. That is the reason that we are putting things like the Northern Economic Plan in place. I have spoken about some of the initiatives under the Northern Economic Plan. Only a few weeks ago, I spoke about the project to build buses, low-emission diesel buses and electric buses, in the north that is helping to make sure there are 50 jobs that would not be there but for our Northern Economic Plan. We will continue to do that, and we are happy to continue to do that, because we are a Labor government and that's what we do.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: I have a supplementary question arising from the answer: can the minister outline the details of the elements of employment in the Northern Economic Plan, apart from the buses?

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): I thank the honourable member for her question. There are quite a number of elements of the Northern Economic Plan. There is the small business grants area that minister Hamilton Smith—my good friend and a fantastic small business minister—is rolling out. He is a great egg and a great advocate for South Australia.

The Hon. J.M.A. LENSINK: Further supplementary: the minister mentioned that there were a range of things, but the only matter that he has raised further to the buses are small business grants. Are there any other projects that he can point to? He might need to take this on notice, but can he give us a quantum of the entire number of jobs that are being produced by the plan?

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): Over the course of the running of this plan there will be lots.

 

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