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Wednesday, 10 February 1999
Page: 2402

Mr Martin Ferguson asked the Minister for Employment Services, upon notice, on 11 November 1998:

(1) Which participants in the Job Network failed to open all services and activities for which they were contracted on 1 May 1998.

(2) At which localities were full services and activities not operating on 1 May 1998.

(3) Does the Job Network contract contain penalties for participants unable to meet a commitment to start operating on 1 May 1998; if not, why not; if so, has his Department invoked the penalties.

Mr Abbott (Employment Services) —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

(1) and (2) DEETYA, the Department then responsible for Job Network, did not have the capacity to physically check the operational status of every Job Network site on 1 May 1998 and therefore does not have a complete list of every locality or any services or activities that were not operational on that day. It would require excessive resources to now compile such a list.

(3) The Job Network contract does not contain specific penalties for a Job Network member who did not open contracted sites on 1 May 1998. It does however contain provisions regarding any default by the Job Network member. These provisions could be invoked by the Commonwealth if a member failed to meet any contractual obligations.

Failure by a Job Network member to meet any of their obligations has and will be, considered on a case by case basis. My Department is aware of a number of instances where members were unable to open sites for a number of reasons including circumstances beyond their control. Generally resolution of contractual issues will be sought in the spirit of conciliation and negotiation before legal options are pursued.