Jun 4, 2003

Department heads admits what minister won’t

DEPARTMENT HEAD ADMITS WHAT MINISTER WON’T

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 4 June 2003

Yesterday in Senate Estimates the Deputy Secretary of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations admitted that the Government’s cornerstone labour market program, the Job Network, had failed to perform as well as even the Government had hoped.

During the hearings Labor Senator Ruth Webber asked Mr Correll:

“But is the funding meant to be based on outcomes? Have you underestimated the funding

In response Mr Correll admitted:

In fact since 2000 underspending on the Job Network has totalled $345 million.

Mr Correll’s admission only confines the data that has already been produced and released by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations.

The most recent data from the Department shows that only 18% of those who participated in Intensive Assistance – the highest level of help available through the Job Network – found full-time employment. In the case of the most disadvantaged jobseekers, only 1 in 8 (12.5%) found full-time work upon completing Intensive Assistance.

Labour Market Assistance Outcomes, Issue 11, p4

In total, less than one half (44%) of Job Network participates successfully found full-time or part-time employment at the completion of Intensive Assistance. By contrast the previous Labor Government’s Jobstart program was achieving employment outcomes of 59%.

In other words, the Job Network is preforming much less effectively than the programs it replaced.

Given the Job Network’s performance it is not surprising then that the number of people on unemployment benefits for more than 12 months is higher today than when the Howard Government was first elected to office.

Mr Correll’s admission paints a bleak picture for the unemployed. Not only is employment growth predicted to significantly slow but those unfortunate enough to find themselves without a job face the prospect of being recycled through poorly preforming programs.