CANBERRA, AAP – Prime Minister Scott Morrison aims to use the second day of election campaigning to focus on a jobs creation pitch.
Mr Morrison is in Sydney on Tuesday, spruiking a pledge to create 1.3 million jobs over the next five years.
Labor leader Anthony Albanese remains in Tasmania, where he will outline a plan to reinstate a 50 per cent regional loading for bulk-billed telehealth psychiatric consultations.
The commitment is expected to cost more than $31 million over four years, and support 450,000 consultations.
Mr Morrison said the coalition’s new jobs pledge covered multiple sectors of the economy, citing the defence industry and, food and beverage manufacturing.
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“We’re going to invest in skills,” he told radio station 5AA in Adelaide.
Treasurer Josh Frydenberg said employment growth would be broad based.
“Our plan is to create more jobs right across the economy by backing small business, and ensuring that businesses are free to innovate, to hire and to grow,” he told Sky News.
Mr Albanese will be trying to put day one of the campaign behind him after he was unable to cite the Reserve Bank of Australia’s cash interest rate or the national unemployment rate during a media conference in Launceston.
But former prime minister John Howard did not see what the fuss was about.
“Anthony Albanese didn’t know the unemployment rate? So what?” he said while campaigning with cabinet minister Ken Wyatt in Western Australia.
Despite the former prime minister’s sympathy, the treasurer still seized on the opposition leader’s error.
“(Anthony Albanese’s) getting pretty desperate if he’s seeking comfort from John Howard,” Mr Frydenberg said.
Mr Albanese later owned up to the gaffe, saying he was happy to “fess up” to his mistakes.
Shadow treasurer Jim Chalmers said the unemployment rate did not tell the full story.
“The defining feature of the labour market right now is that that even though we’ve got the unemployment rate falling in welcome ways, we’re still not generating the real wages growth that we need to keep up with the skyrocketing cost of living,” he told ABC radio.
“The government doesn’t have a plan to deal with the skills shortages and labour shortages that come with an unemployment rate at four per cent.”
It comes as a new opinion poll showed Labor maintaining its lead over the government.
The Roy Morgan poll shows Labor ahead 57-43 on two-party preferred, while Labor is also ahead in all six states.