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Thursday, 11 September 2003
Page: 19899


Mr WAKELIN (3:23 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Employment Services. Would the minister update the House on the results of Job Network as part of the Howard government's strategy to assist unemployed Australians into jobs?


Mr BROUGH (Minister for Employment Services) —I thank the member for Grey who represents an electorate of some 900,000 square kilometres, I think, of this great nation. It is no wonder he would ask a question about Job Network because, if my figures are correct, there used to be about half a dozen CESs over that huge expanse of Australia and today there are some 22 services providing Job Network job placements and the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme to Australians throughout the electorate of Grey. I commend him on the fine job that he does out there. Of course those 22-odd sites are part of 2½ thousand sites right throughout the length and breadth of this country which provide services to Australians where they live.

It was interesting today that we had an interjection from the member for Port Adelaide, which was responded to by the Treasurer, in which he asked the driving question about full-time employment—he asked how many full-time jobs there are. The Treasurer rightly pointed out that some 63,500 full-time jobs were created in the last month of the Howard-Anderson government. Do you know how many months it took the Labor Party to actually create 60,000 full-time jobs—not even 60,000, in fact the figure was 56,500 full-time jobs? Sixty thousand jobs in one month under the Howard government, and you got 56,000 jobs in 72 months under a Labor government, with the Leader of the Opposition as the employment minister. What a tremendous record! I am not suggesting that we are 72 times better than the Labor Party, but we do know that Job Network is delivering for Australians where they live. In fact, why is it delivering? It is delivering because under the star rating system, Job Network members have one goal and one goal only: that is to get real jobs for real Australians. I will read to you from our Job Network star rating and performance information. These are the words that the Job Network members know underpin their capacity to maintain contracts. It reads:

In line with the objectives of Job Network, the overwhelmingly important criterion for gaining a high star rating is placing the maximum possible number of job seekers into jobs.

And that is the way it should be. The greatest rewards are for those that extend the jobs for longer than 13 weeks, or for 26 weeks for disadvantaged job seekers and Indigenous people.

Today alone an additional 5,600 jobs have come onto the Australian Job Network. They are real jobs for real Australians. It is no wonder the opposition look so glum. There have been 60,000 new vacancies this month which have gone onto the Job Network, yet there were only 56,000 full-time jobs created in the last six years of the Labor government. The Job Network is playing a significant role in driving down unemployment, seeing a `5' in front of the unemployment number for the first time in 13 years. But this side of politics knows and recognises there is more to be done. We will not rest on our laurels. We will continue to drive unemployment down. We will continue to motivate job seekers and to have Job Network members focused on one thing: getting Australians into work.