Election pitch: Australian PM vows million new jobs

After his primary competitor botched questions about the unemployment rate, Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison put jobs at the centre of his election campaign on Tuesday, promising to create 1.3 million more over the next five years.

On the first day of the campaign, Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese refused to respond to inquiries from reporters regarding Australia’s interest rates and unemployment figures, despite the election being centred on wage growth and cost-of-living issues.

Morrison stated in a statement, “We’ve got the runs on the board and proven plans to deliver these… additional jobs.” “A critical component of our objective for a healthier economy is increasing employment creation to levels seen before the pandemic.”

Two surveys released on Monday showed Albanese’s center-left Labor Party leading the conservative Liberal-National Party alliance in a May 21 election, even as the prime minister’s lead as the country’s favourite leader grew.

“Despite fires, floods, a pandemic, a worldwide recession, Chinese economic pressure, and now a war in Europe,” Morrison said, his government has lowered the jobless rate to 4 percent, down from 5.7 percent when Labor left power in 2013.

The additional employment would be produced “all over the economy,” according to Treasurer Josh Frydenberg. “More jobs are going to be created,” he told Channel Seven.

Australia’s unemployment rate is expected to drop below 3% for the first time since the early 1970s, many months ahead of central bank estimates, with some economists forecasting it would fall below the 3.75 percent budget forecast.

Wage growth was expected to pick up, but not enough to keep pace with inflation, implying that real earnings would fall this year.

In March, the budget boosted a tax relief for 10 million low and middle-income taxpayers, as well as one-time cash payments for retirees and a temporary reduction in fuel taxes, in order to appease unhappy voters.

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