MORE BAILOUTS ON THE WAY FOR JOB NETWORK
MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 20 August 2003
In Question Time today the Minister for Employment Services, Mal Brough, refused to deny that the Government is about to inject even more money into their ailing Job Network.
Despite Job Network providers reporting serious financial difficulties, the Minister denies that there are any problems apart from a few “greedy” jobseekers who need to be taught a lesson. Minister Brough is in a complete state of denial.
This response from the Minister is no longer acceptable. It will only create further anxiety amongst providers whose only desire is for the financial certainty that would enable them to focus on the needs of the unemployed.
Just 4 weeks ago the Minister was forced to provide $30 million in emergency payments to providers simply to ensure that they were able to keep their doors open and staff employed.
Research conducted by the National Employment Services Association (NESA) found that 90% of those Job Network providers surveyed reported that their cash flow and revenue were well below what they had budgeted for and been promised by the Government.
The causes of this cash flow crisis has been three fold:
1. The data which underpins the business plan and cash flow projections developed by DEWR were flawed;
2. The automated referral system between Centrelink and the Job Network has left a large number of jobseekers confused, told to turn up at Job Network providers they have never heard of before or at times that do not take into account their personal circumstances. Up to 70% of jobseekers are failing to turn up to interviews with their Job Network providers – a rate far greater than anything previously recorded;
3. The information technology (IT) infrastructure underpinning the operation of the Job Network has been plagued by ongoing “technical” problems. As a result, Centrelink and Job Network staff are have working substantial amounts of overtime, including weekends, entering and re-entering data.
Minister Brough has utterly mismanaged the transition to Job Network Mark 3 and the ultimate losers out of this entire debacle have been, and will continue be, the unemployed.