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Monday, 23 September 2002
Page: 6971

Mr ALBANESE (2:50 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Employment Services. What mechanisms does the government have in place to ensure that inappropriate providers do not enter the Job Network system by buying out existing companies which have Job Network contracts? Minister, in light of your last answer, will you now give a commitment to investigate the appropriateness of Maximus Inc. being involved in the Job Network, including their record in the United States? Minister, will you investigate this company or not?

Mr BROUGH (Minister for Employment Services) —It is interesting that at the last election just 11 months ago when we saw the employment policy—if you could call it that—of the opposition, there was nothing at all about checking anybody who may or may not come into Job Network.

The SPEAKER —The minister will resume his seat. I am persistently reminding the member for Jagajaga of her obligations under standing order 55. The minister has the call. The minister is entitled to be heard in silence, as standing order 55 makes patently clear to everyone.

Mr BROUGH —In regard to this particular company, when any organisation looks to change its ownership and it already holds a government contract through the Job Network, it is looked at by the department, the department takes advice as to whether the organisation has the financial capability with which to deliver services and it then has to abide by the code of conduct. A breach of the code of conduct can result in companies losing their entire business, their regional business or their site business. As you would be aware, Job Network 3 is currently under way and letters have been sent to businesses to explain why they may or may not be able to participate in this next contract round. As far as any particular company is concerned, when we go through our tender process we will look at all the criteria, including a wide range of parameters, and the companies will be required to meet those parameters. In the event that a company—whether it be a church based, a not-for-profit or a profitable organisation—subsequently does not meet its contractual arrangements for whatever reason, we reserve the right to be able to remove it from the system. We also reserve the right, under contract 3, to be able to remove those companies who are poor performers, because this government is determined to only have the best level of performance of Job Network members across the entire network.