Feb 19, 2004

Job network providers misled over funding

JOB NETWORK PROVIDERS MISLED OVER FUNDING “GUARANTEE”

MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 19 February 2004

The Secretary of the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations, Dr Peter Boxall, has repudiated Minister Brough’s $2.1 billion guarantee to Job Network providers made only last August.

On 22 August 2003, Minister Brough told an annual conference of Job Network providers:

“…the reality is in July and August of this year, you have not received the money that was forecast. I made a commitment to the CEOs [of providers] in late June, as I pulled you altogether at the commencement of this July 1 Active Participation Model, and gave a commitment, a commitment that the flows of income that were projected under the KPMG model and the Econtech model would flow to you. That hasn’t occurred. But that will occur, in full.”

This commitment was only given following warnings from many providers that they were on the brink of financial ruin. Already one major provider has collapsed.

Mr Brough unambiguously reaffirmed this commitment that night on the ABC’s PM Program:

ABC REPORTER: So you’ve guaranteed to the employment agencies that they will be get paid, because it’s not their fault that the unemployed are turning up?

MAL BROUGH: That’s it in a nutshell.

However, today in Senate Estimates when asked about Mr Brough’s guarantee to Job Network providers, Dr Boxall unequivocally said:

"The fact is there is no guarantee."

Mr Brough has engaged in a disgraceful campaign of deception, giving struggling Job Network providers commitments he had no intention of keeping and blaming jobseekers for problems of his own making.

When asked in Question Time today to clarify his earlier guarantee Mr Brough refused to do so.