May 21, 2004

It’s an extra program, stupid…


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 21 May 2004

In the respective Budget announcements, Labor has announced the $49.4 million "Link up" program as part of its $700 million Youth Guarantee.

The Howard Government has promised nothing.

Only Labor is putting extra funding into ensuring that today’s early school leavers are not tomorrow’s long term unemployed.

In a shameless attempt to slur Labor’s Link-Up program which form part of our "Youth Guarantee" the Government has simply highlighted the vast gulf which exists between the tired Howard Government which only has a plan for re-election and Labor which has a plan for the future.

Instead of putting forward constructive policies that will support disadvantaged jobseekers out of welfare dependency and into sustainable employment, Minister Brough is simply seeking to frighten young job seekers.

Labor will target 13,000 young people in the areas with the highest youth unemployment for additional assistance through the Link-Up program. This initiative will commence on 1st January 2005 and will be in addition to the programs under the Job Network.

Under the Howard Government not a single young person will receive one cent of extra assistance despite some regions experiencing record high levels of youth unemployment.

Under Link-Up young people will get intensive assistance from day one. Labor will ensure all participants are either learning or earning.

The Government has no new programs or policy. Even work for the dole doesn’t have to apply for those under 18. This isn’t surprising given the Youth Minister, Larry Anthony has said there is no problem with youth unemployment.

This week I visited Northern Adelaide with the Labor candidate for Makin, Mayor Tony Zappia. This region has the highest youth unemployment rate in the country at 37.3%. Young people were very supportive of Labor’s Youth Guarantee. They praised Mark Latham’s commitment to ensuring young Australians receive a hand up, not just a hand out.

I have today written to the Minister offering him a full briefing on Labor’s proposed program to help young unemployed Australians. Maybe he could follow his Ministerial colleagues lead and just adopt Labor’s policy initiatives given that he has no new ideas and no new funding of his own.