Aug 1, 2003

Albanese asks audit office to investigate job network


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 1 August 2003

Following today’s report in the Financial Review and the ongoing controversy surrounding the Howard Government’s handling of the transition to Job Network Mark 3, I have today written to the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) asking them to investigate the entire process.

Today’s report indicates that Employment Services Minister Mal Brough is now withholding vital information from Job Network providers, the people who actually administer the system.

I believe the time has come for an independent body to audit the design and administration of Job Network Mark 3. ANAO is ideally placed to conduct such an audit.

There is a growing body of evidence that the Job Network is teetering on the edge of collapse with many providers struggling to remain financially viable just one month into their three year contract.

These problems have become so serious that the Government has been forced to bailout providers to the tune of $30 million just to ensure they didn’t close their doors or retrench staff.

In dollar terms, providers are reporting that their cash flow and revenue are down by a massive 40% as the number of jobseekers referred to them by Centrelink declined due to ongoing IT problems and a flawed automated referral system.

Despite the obvious problems plaguing the Job Network and its longer-term viability, Minister Brough continues to deny anything is wrong with the system, instead launching gutless attacks on the unemployed.

In light of the Minister’s delusional state I believe it is now time for an independent body, such as ANAO, to investigate his handling of the entire Job Network contract and the $2.5 billion in taxpayers’ money associated with it.

I have taken this action because the ultimate losers out of this entire debacle will be the unemployed.