May 27, 2003

Brough simply can’t count


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 27 May 2003

The Minister for Employment Services, Mal Brough, has spent the day telling the media and the Parliament that there will be more Job Network Sites under the new Job Network Contract due to commence on 1 July 2003.

This is simply not true.

A document released by the Minister’s own Department in March shows that under Job Network Mark 3 there will be 986 Job Network offices nationally (see attachment). Under Job Network Mark 2 there were 2,087 offices.

Today in Parliament saw the extraordinary refusal of the Minister to allow the tabling of this document which exposes the Minister’s desperate assertions to be an absolute fantasy.

According to the Government’s own figures, 53% of Job Network offices are earmarked for closure between now and 1 July. This translates into the loss of 691 regional offices and a further 410 metropolitan offices. In total, of the current 2,087 offices, 1,101 will close permanently.

The Government is closing more offices than they are keeping open.

In trying to hide the true number of office closures, the Minister is suggesting that any organisation or business that registers their willingness to advertise jobs on the Government’s job search website is a Job Network provider. This is absurd.

In other words, a business could register only one job on website within a year and suddenly be called a Job Network provider.

This is an insult to all unemployed Australians – especially the nearly 400,000 long-term unemployed – who desperately need help to find a job.

The Minister knows full well that the closures of Job Network offices in regional areas will devastate small communities. The unemployed in those towns will now have to travel further to get the help they need. For jobseekers in larger towns and metropolitan areas, these closures will simply mean less choice.