Jul 26, 2003

PM pulls bungling Brough into line


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 26 July 2003

This morning as hundreds of thousands of jobseekers scour the Saturday newspapers and websites looking for work, the system established by the Howard Government to help them with their job finding efforts, the Job Network, is on the verge of collapse.

Due to the incompetence of Employment Services Minister, Mal Brough, the Prime Minister’s Office has been forced to establish an Interdepartmental Committee tasked with trying to sort out the massive problems currently crippling the Job Network and undermining the financial viability of many of its providers.

The Prime Minister’s Office has asked that high ranking officers from the Department of Employment and Workplaces Relations, the Department of Family and Community Services and Centrelink come together to try and fix the systematic problems that are plaguing the Job Network.

There is no doubt that the Prime Minister is extremely concerned that another bail out will be needed if Minister Brough can’t get his act together. Already Minister Brough has been forced to inject $30 million of taxpayers’ money into the ailing system just to ensure that providers kept their doors open and didn’t retrench staff.

Red faced about the failure of welfare reform, the three key ministers involved – Tony Abbott, Amanda Vanstone and Mal Brough – can’t afford another major policy mishap or they themselves may soon be requiring the assistance of an employment agency.

However, despite the growing body of evidence that the Job Network is struggling to remain financially viable just three weeks into the three-year contract, Minister Brough continues to publicly deny anything is wrong with the system – instead blaming all the problems on the unemployed.

If that is the case then Minister Brough should immediately state publicly that no further injection of emergency funding will be required over the remaining life of the current three year contract.

Just three weeks into Job Network Mark 3 the system is in a state of deep confusion and jobseekers are being left to suffer.