Scott Morrison’s plan to restart the economy was the ‘JobMaker’ plan. One year later, it has created 609 jobs, and is viewed as a success by the Treasury.
Back in May 2020, Scott Morrison proclaimed that he wanted to get the Australian economy “out of ICU” and “off the medication” of government support “before it becomes too accustomed to it”.
At the time, he said, “We must enable our businesses to earn our way out of this crisis. That means focusing on the things that can make our businesses go faster.”
The solution, according to Morrison was the ‘JobMaker’ plan, labelling it a “plan for a new generation of economic success”.
Well, history will prove that the opposite turned out to be true. At the Senate estimates hearing on Tuesday, it was revealed that JobMaker created 609 jobs. Indeed, this number shrinks further when we consider the context. With JobKeeper set to end this week, an estimated 100,000 to 150,000 are set to lose their jobs.
Oddly, the paltry figure is viewed as a win. As Treasury secretary, Steven Kennedy said at the hearing, “the program has done its work, frankly.”
As Paul Karp of The Guardian explained, “Treasury officials revealed that despite 15,000 registrations of interest, just 609 young people had been hired through jobmaker, which subsidises the wages of new hires under 35 who were previously on welfare such as jobseeker. The program was originally estimated to cost $4bn and support 450,000 jobs.”
According to Simon Birmingham, it’s not their fault, rather it’s the fault of Labor.
“The way the opposition greeted and attacked its establishment, and suggested those who would be using the program would be undermining existing employees, certainly did not help the reaction of business who perceived the program was politically contested and charged…we want to send a message to Australian business that the jobs created are additional jobs, so business should participate with confidence and should not be targeted or attacked for using this program to hire more young Australians,” he said.
Just a reminder. It aimed to support 450,000 jobs, it created 609.
It’s hard not to be cynical and view this as another of Scott Morrison’s sales pitches that delivers little. At the time of the announcement, Morrison unfurled the five commandments of JobMaker, which now reads close to mania.
First, Australia will “remain an outward-looking, open and sovereign trading economy”, that won’t “retreat into the downward spiral of protectionism” – but also won’t trade away its values for short term gain.
The second principle “is caring for country, a principle that indigenous Australians have practiced for tens of thousands of years”.
This involves “responsible management and stewardship of what has been left to us to sustainably manage for current and future generations. We must not borrow from future generations what we cannot return to them.
“This is as much true for our environmental, cultural and natural resources as it for our economic and financial ones. Governments must live with their means, to not impose impossible debt burdens on future generations.”
The third principle is leveraging and building on strengths.
These include “an educated and highly-skilled workforce that supports not just a thriving and innovative services sector, but a modern and competitive advanced manufacturing sector.
“Resources and agricultural sectors that can both fuel and feed large global populations, including our own and support vibrant rural and regional communities. A financial system that has proved to be one of the most stable and resilient in the world.
“World-leading scientists, medical specialists, researchers and technologists. An emerging space sector.”
Fourthly, “ we must always ensure that there is the opportunity in Australia for those who have a go, to get a go”.
Under this falls “access to essential services, an incentive for effort and respect for the principles of mutual obligation. All translated into policies that seek not to punish those who have success, but devise ways for others to achieve it.”
And fifthly is “doing what makes the boat go faster”.
“To strengthen and grow our economy, the boats we need to go faster are the hundreds of thousands of small, medium and large businesses that make up our economy and create the value upon which everything else depends.”
Complete nonsense. Although, if you disqualify everything else, the take-home quote might be this, as Morrison said, before the program kicked off, JobMaker is “a system my government would be prepared to invest more in.”