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Wednesday, 30 June 1999
Page: 8007


Mr HARDGRAVE (8:38 PM) —Again we see where the real intelligence in the opposition ranks lies. The member for Werriwa has shown that he is prepared to put a bit of thought into public policy and to come up with some real positives and some real objective thought on an important matter before us. I contrast that with the contribution from the member for Griffith who has been running around with nothing else to do—both in his time in this place and before he came here—protesting about what may or may not be happening at Brisbane airport. It is extra ordinary that the member for Griffith, in his contribution yet again tonight, is keeping alive his big scare campaign. I know that over time he may find another issue, but to date he has not. I actually have one for him. He could probably talk to his friend the Lord Mayor of Brisbane and join with me in demanding that the Brisbane City Council embrace the government's successful Work for the Dole program.

Findings for the Work for the Dole pilot projects show that over 30 per cent of people actually went into full jobs and over 10 per cent went on to education and training. So that is well over a 40 per cent success rate for those who participated in Work for the Dole. Is it any wonder the government fulfilled its obligation offered at the last election—and delivered on afterwards; that is the hallmark of the Howard-Fischer government—to bring about an increase in the numbers of people able to access Work for the Dole.

The sad fact is that one of the largest employers of people in the city of Brisbane, the Labor Soorley administration of the Brisbane City Council, refused to cooperate with the government's efforts in this regard and for a philosophical reason. What they are doing for this party political philosophical reason is turning their back on the unemployed, particularly the young unemployed, who need an opportunity to get the dignity that comes from working for the dole. The concept of mutual obligation has given a lot of Australians who have not had the chance to get full-time work the opportunity to hold their heads high. But the Soorley administration in the City Hall, Brisbane, has turned their backs on that. What a hypocritical situation this is!

During the period 1992 to 1996 the Brisbane City Council was contracted to manage 19 Jobskills, Landcare and Environment Action Program—LEAP—and New Work Opportunities projects in Brisbane. That was under the Labor Party. Brisbane City Council actively sought to sponsor broker programs. They were contracted to provide 3,323 job seekers with work experience and training at a total cost to the Commonwealth of $28,488,095 under the Jobskills, New Work Opportunities and LEAP programs. The average cost per placement for these three broker programs conducted by the BCC was $8,573—that was per person. That was the sort of opportunity that the Brisbane City Council took when the Labor Party were in power here in Canberra.

But, again for party political and pathetic political reasons, the Brisbane City Council turns its back on the young people in my electorate and refuses to cooperate with worthy organisations like the Salvation Army who have gone to them with sound proposals to place people in Work for the Dole projects. I have to tell the House that, out of seven projects under LEAP between 1993 and 1996 in which 1,291 people participated, the council took a brokerage fee of over $5 million. In fact, for the New Work Opportunities Program—the failed New Work Opportunities Program—the Brisbane City Council took a brokerage fee of $332,394. That is a lot of money that the council took in brokerage fees.

If the Brisbane City Council will not do the right thing by the young unemployed in my electorate, then I will continue to do what I have said in my promise to bring more Work for the Dole opportunities to people in my electorate of Moreton, and that is find other community groups—and there are other community groups—who are going to turn their backs on the Brisbane City Council in the way it has turned its back particularly on the young unemployed in my electorate. The chambers of commerce are keen to do it and a lot of other responsible community groups in my electorate are committed to it. The government stands ready to provide the finance to make these projects happen. The only thing standing in the way of potentially thousands of young people across the southern suburbs of Brisbane obtaining Work for the Dole opportunities—hence the reason I invite the member for Griffith to join me in my efforts—is the Brisbane City Council. It should stand condemned.

In the closing few seconds of this debate, Mr Speaker, I wish you well in the long parliamentary break to come, and thank you for your stewardship from the chair.


Mr SPEAKER —In the absence of any other honourable member rising, I will allow the parliamentary secretary to close the debate.