Mar 25, 2004

Brough admits Job Network needs


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 25 March 2004

Today in The Australian newspaper the Minister for Employment Services, Mal Brough, has conceded that further reductions in the levels of long term unemployment will not be possible until his Government’s ailing Job Network is fundamentally overhauled.

When asked to comment on the fact that the number of people claiming unemployment benefits for more than 12 months had fallen only marginal from 326,980 to 326,028 since the introduction of Job Network Mark 3 last July, Minister Brough told The Australian:

“We’re pleased the figures confirm the Howard Government is getting more people into work and more off welfare and we continue to get on with the job, but we call on Labor to support structural reform so we can make further inroads.”

It is unfortunate that it has taken Minister Brough so long to acknowledge what so many jobseekers have been telling him, and what the statistics have been showing.

The facts speak for themselves. The number of Australians on unemployment benefits for more than 12 months is greater today than in 1996. Furthermore, the number of people on unemployment benefits for more than 5 years has increased by 42% to 107,500.

While I’m pleased Minister Brough has finally acknowledged what Labor has been saying for more than 8 months – that the Job Network is failing the long term unemployed – we now need to know the details of the “structural reforms” he argues are necessary.

For the sake of the long term unemployed, Labor stands ready to actively engage in the reform of the Job Network.