Mar 30, 2003

Job network 3, new problem 1

Job Network 3, New Problem 1

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 30 March 2003

Hundreds of job seekers in Australia have been left without support to find work despite the Minister’s promises that there would be no gaps in services.

Announcing the new job network provider contracts last Thursday, Minister Brough said that the Top End, West Kimberley, East Kimberley, Karratha, Ceduna and the Anunga/Pitjanjara lands and Oak Valley area near Port Augusta were to be excluded from the latest contract and that the Department would seek to negotiate with potential providers on a fee for service basis.

However, what the Minister failed to mention was that, until these new contracts were negotiated and established, unemployed people in these areas would not be able to receive assistance in finding work.

“This Minister loves to talk about the unemployed’s obligation to seek work, but constantly fails to meet his obligation to provide appropriate support to the unemployed, particular those in regional Australia.

“Putting regions with high unemployment in the too-hard basket is a pathetic response from the Government and one that is completely unfair to Australians living in regional Australia.

“The Minister’s Department has spent literally millions of dollars developing these new contracts, but now admits that they have not worked out how best to assist people find work in some parts of regional Australia.

“It is just not good enough to leave these communities in a holding pattern. The Minister needs to ensure all unemployed people can access assistance and establish new service providers in these areas.

“Labor demands this situation be addressed immediately. Australians living in these areas need more support, not less.