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Wednesday, 19 June 1996
Page: 2256

Mr MARTIN FERGUSON —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment, Education, Training and Youth Affairs. I refer to the report in today's Age newspaper that the new enterprise incentive scheme, which has this year helped around 10,000 unemployed people start their own businesses, has been frozen with no guarantee of funding beyond this month. Why has the government thrown this highly effective scheme on the scrap heap when its own supply bills allow full funding to the end of November?

Dr KEMP —It is about time that the member for Batman got on top of his shadow portfolio and took the trouble to inform himself accurately before once again raising an untruth in this House. The claim by the shadow minister that the new enterprise incentive scheme has been frozen is completely unfounded and completely untrue.

The new enterprise incentive scheme is a successful labour market program which assists unemployed people to establish their own small businesses. The facts are that approval was given to initiate the tendering process for the new enterprise incentive scheme program on 11 May this year. By now the department has completed the tender assessment process in many areas, and the department will be ready to negotiate contracts next week with NEIS managing agents for NEIS places for the full 1996-97 financial year.

The fact is that the NEIS process is on schedule. There is no reason for delays in these programs. It would be good to hear some level of accuracy from the other side of the House on these important matters before they spread anxiety amongst those who seek to take advantage of these programs.