Nov 7, 2003

Mr Brough it’s not the jobseekers, it’s you


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 7 November 2003

Today, Mal Brough continued his dishonest campaign of vilifying the unemployed, concocting excuses to conceal his incompetent handling of the transition to Job Network Mark 3.

In a speech to the annual Jobs Australia conference in Hobart, Mr Brough continued to claim that 60,000 jobseekers had failed to attend a compulsory interview with their Job Network provider without a valid reason.

Mr Brough’s continued use of this 60,000 figure, despite it being repeatedly debunked by Centrelink, just shows the lengths this Minister will go in order to find someone to blame for his own policy failings.

Just yesterday, Centrelink – the agency responsible for monitoring the job search efforts of jobseekers – told a Senate Estimates hearing that as at 12 September just 6,417 jobseekers had failed to attend meetings with their provider without a valid reason – one ninth the number claimed by Mr Brough.

According to Centrelink the balance of the 60,000 jobseekers had valid reasons for not having attended their compulsory interviews – 11,357 had already attended compulsory interviews with their providers and a further 22,742 had a future interview booked.

Centrelink has previously provided these details to Mr Brough.

In light of the facts, Mr Brough must cease his dishonest campaign of vilifying the unemployed and immediately correct the public record.

It was not recalcitrant jobseekers that brought the Job Network to the brink of financial collapse, it was the fundamentally flawed financial model developed by Mr Brough and his Department. The Government simply got its numbers wrong. Or as one Job Network provider so eloquently told The Australian on 14 August, the Government “totally stuffed up the modelling.”

Just 4 months into Job Network Mark 3 and already two bailouts have been needed – the first was for $30 million and the second totalled $2.1 billion.

Despite Mr Brough’s furphies the simple fact remains: the Job Network is not working for many of those it is meant to service – the unemployed.