The Australian economy is remarkably resilient with the unemployment rate at a 13 year low of 4 per cent – this is the equal lowest unemployment rate in 48 years. The female unemployment rate also fell to 3.8% – the lowest since May 1974. The participation rate rose by 0.2 percentage points to 66.4 per cent, an all-time high.
Since May 2020, more than 1.2 million jobs have been created with 59% going to women and 27% going to young people. There are now 375,000 more Australians in work than before the pandemic.
At the same time, I know many in our community are feeling the pinch. This is most noticeable at the petrol pump. Like you, I watch the prices and paid 2.29 cents per litre to fill up just this week. The rising prices are off the back of global supply chain disruptions and increased demand for goods while geopolitical tensions including the Russian invasion of Ukraine have caused sharp increases in energy prices which is showing up at the fuel bowser here in Australia.
At 1.3 per cent for the quarter and 3.5 per cent through the year, inflation in Australia is half of what it is in the United States and lower than it is in Germany, Canada and the United Kingdom.
The best thing we can do to support families with cost of living pressures is keep the economy strong, create jobs, and ensure people keep more of what they earn.
This is why our Government has been focused on cutting taxes which has seen around $30 billion in lower taxes flow to more than 11 million Australians since the start of the pandemic.
We are also addressing cost of living pressures through our changes to the Child Care Subsidy which will see an average family with two children in child care around $3000 better-off over the next two years alone.
And to ensure we are less reliant on global supply chains, our modern manufacturing strategy is encouraging new and existing businesses to increase manufacturing capacity here in Australia in areas like food and beverage, medical products, recycling and clean energy, resources technology, and critical minerals and defence.