Jul 2, 2004

Under Howard more children are growing up in jobless families


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 2 July 2004

New figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) reveal that over 678,100 children, or 17.4% of all dependent children, are living in families without a parent working – an increase of 8% since the Howard Government was first elected in 1996.

According to separate research undertaken by the Department of Family and Community Services:

“International comparisons show that joblessness affects a larger proportion of families with children in Australia than in most other industrial nations…”

(Source: FaCS (2001), p37)

Under the Howard Government more children are growing up in households that lack the financial security that comes with having a job.

Today’s ABS report also confirms that the number of Australians out of work or lacking enough work is unacceptably high. According to the ABS more than 1.163 million Australians are unemployed or without enough work – double the official unemployment number.

This latest information from the ABS comes on top of recent data released by the Department of Family and Community Services showing that despite more than a decade of economic growth the numbers of very long term unemployed Australians – those claiming benefits for more than 5 years – has increased by 68% since 1999.

These statistics clearly show that the benefits of economic growth are not being shared equally across our society and that the Government’s cornerstone labour market, the Job Network, is failing to improve the employment prospect of disadvantaged jobseekers.

Instead of engaging in gratuitous self-gratification, the Howard Government should acknowledge that the financial security that comes with having a job still eludes too many Australians.