Apr 7, 2003

Massive cut to services for the jobless in Western Victoria


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 7 April 2003

The Howard Government has slashed the number of Job Network sites in Western Victoria by an extraordinary 42% as part of its changes to the Job Network system.

This translates into the loss of 47 sites and potentially hundreds of jobs across the region.

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 some communities in Western Victoria are enduring unemployment rates above the national average. In the region unemployment is stuck at around 20%.

Not only does this decision mean less services for the unemployed, but it will actually add to the 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.

The Government is putting regions with high unemployment, such as Western Victoria, into the too-hard basket.

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“I don’t want to see any further services, government service levels withdrawn from or taken away from the bush.”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 47 Job Network sites is a further example of the Prime Minister promising one thing before the election but doing the complete opposite after it.

Communities in this region include: Ballarat, Bendigo, Colac, Geelong, Hamilton, Kerang, Maryborough, Portland and Warrnambool.