Apr 6, 2003

Massive cut to services for the jobless in regional Australia


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 6 April 2003

The Howard Government has slashed the number of Job Network sites in Regional Australia by an extraordinary 58% as part of its announced changes to the Job Network system.

This translates into the loss of 691 sites and potentially hundreds of jobs across regional Australia. A further 410 metropolitan sites will also close.

It will mean that many towns will be left without any Job Network provider, and that the unemployed in those towns will have to travel further to get the help they need to find a job.

This dramatic cut in employment services comes at a time when many regional communities are enduring unemployment rates of more than 10% and youth joblessness is stuck at over 30%.

The Government is putting regions with high unemployment into the too-hard basket.

Not only does this decision mean less services for the unemployed, but it will actually add to unemployment queues as staff are sacked from those sites earmarked for closure.

On the one hand the Government complains about a growing culture of welfare dependency, while on the other it savages the very programs that would assist the unemployed off welfare and return them to the economic and social life of our community.

Prior to the last Federal election the Prime Minister told Australians living in the regions:

“I don’t want to see any further services, government service levels withdrawn from or taken away from the bush.” (31 January 2000)

Clearly this decision to close 691 Job Network sites is a further example of the Prime Minister promising one thing before the election but doing the complete opposite after it.