CANBERRA, AAP – Scott Morrison is confident up to 100,000 people set to lose their jobs when JobKeeper ends will find work elsewhere.
Treasury expects widespread job losses when the wage subsidies expire at the end of March.
The prime minister has declined to estimate how many people he expects will find themselves unemployed when the financial support is scrapped.
“But when jobs are also lost, jobs are also created, so there’s a churn effect,” Mr Morrison told 3AW radio on Friday.
“And so some people, you know, they will find themselves just like we saw back in October, just like we saw in January.
“But then we see the same people get jobs in a new place.”
Finance Minister Simon Birmingham has told jobless Australians there is plenty of work in the bush.
He indicated while the government is focused on job creation, it has no tolerance for those who are able but choose not to work when there are jobs available.
ANZ job advertisements have reached their highest levels since April 2019.
“It is also crucial that we help Australians to step up and fill the jobs with many employers who are actually crying out for workers,” Senator Birmingham said.
“We know also there are hundreds of thousands of Australians currently on JobSeeker who are single, have no children and largely have no impediments to work.
“There are employment opportunities right across the economy for these Australians to enter the workforce.”
Senator Birmingham said available jobs extended well beyond agriculture.
“Examples include mining and drilling companies who can’t find workers for drill rigs, or parts of the construction industry,” he said.
“Vacancies also exist in those tourism regions that have seen a resurgence in domestic tourism.
“Cleaning companies have openings that may previously have been filled by international workers, while demand continues to grow in the crucial care sectors.”
As the government steps up the case to withdraw pandemic supports in March, Senator Birmingham said 90 per cent of Australians who lost their jobs or saw their hours reduce to zero were back at work.
“But not every job has or can be saved, nor will every business be saved or be able to stay as it was,” he said.
Senator Birmingham also warned low interest rates could not be taken for granted, arguing governments should only spend what is necessary.
“Low interest rates will help us to once again set a path way towards budget repair as and when economic circumstances allow,” he said.
“This is important to consider because we cannot assume that such low interest rates will always be there.”
He said the pandemic necessitated a dramatic shift in the government’s budget strategy over the past 12 months.
“But the fact remains that governments should only spend what is necessary.”