Oct 8, 2004

Fran, you’re sounding desperate – again


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 8 October 2004

The media statement put out today by the Minister for Employment Services, Fran Bailey, in response to Labor’s commitment to reform the Job Network contains nothing but desperate lies and clearly shows that she hasn’t even bothered to read our policy.

Labor has no intention of closing down the Job Network.

However, unlike the approach taken by the Howard Government, the next Job Network contract will not be developed solely by Canberra bureaucrats and handed down from on high by the politicians.

Labor will instead establish a Transition to Jobs First Consultative Committee to develop the detailed structure of the fourth Job Network contract.

This Committee will comprise representatives from the relevant government departments, jobseeker advocacy groups, peak industry bodies, rural and regional Job Network providers, Community Work Coordinators, welfare organisations and academia.

Labor will make sure Job Network providers and jobseekers are partners in the reform process, not the victims of it.

It is now a historical fact that if the Howard Government had listen to the views and concerns of Job Network providers the transition to the current Job Network contract would have been significantly smoother, less problematic and delivered significantly better outcomes for the unemployed.

The results of the Howard Government’s approach speak for themselves: the level of entrenched joblessness in the Australian community has been on the increase:

• The number of children growing up in jobless households has increase of 8% since the Howard Government was first elected in 1996;

• Between 1999 and 2004 the number of jobseekers on unemployment benefits for more than five years has jumped by a staggering 68% to 126,650;

• 1.1 million Australians of working age are outside the labour market and dependent on welfare benefits;

Labor wants to use the collective knowledge and experiences of people in the employment services industry to design, implement and operate a Job Network that works for disadvantaged and long term jobseekers.

Fran Bailey’s dishonesty reveals the lengths her Government is prepare to go in a desperate attempt to win re-election and conceal the fact they have no positive agenda for the future.