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Thursday, 16 October 2003
Page: 21652

Mr TICEHURST (2:57 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Employment Services. Would the minister advise the House of the outstanding contribution that Work for the Dole participants have made over the years to improving their local communities?

Mr BROUGH (Minister for Employment Services and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) —I thank the member for his question. There have been some 271,000 participants since 1997 contributing to Work for the Dole, in over 15,000 projects. It is very interesting—and I think this statistic will stun most people in the House—that that equates to over 38,000 working years of work that Work for the Dole participants have put into communities right around this country. They have done a fantastic job, doing work that otherwise would not be done, meeting their mutual obligations and doing something positive for themselves and their wider community. That is 38,000 working years of worthwhile activities building better and stronger local communities. Today I received from the member for Hume an email he received from the Harden Shire Beautification Program.

The SPEAKER —The member for Swan!

Mr BROUGH —The local shire council has got behind Work for the Dole, and a bit of that email is worth reading because it goes to the heart of what a wonderful program this is. It says:

Some of the tasks include:

Finalisation of the Lighthorse Memorial—Done

Repair and renovate classrooms within the Trinity Education centre for occupation by the TAFE Riverina—Done ...

Repair and renovate a community respite centre within the Trinity Centre—Done ...

Remodel and re-paint hospitality areas at the Harden Picnic Race Club—Done

Install a full irrigation system for the use at the Harden Picnic Race Club—Done ...

The SPEAKER —I warn the member for Swan!

Mr BROUGH —The email continued:

Renovate, repair, re-paint and construct a Tourism and Regional Produce Centre in Murrumburrah—Underway.

The list goes on and on. This is a small community council that is working collaboratively with Work for the Dole, the Howard government, its unemployed and the local community to do a fantastic job in providing better facilities for its local community and opportunities for the unemployed and allowing the unemployed to meet their mutual obligations. When you look at 38,000 working years of community work being undertaken by these people, you can only but wonder what it is that makes some of those in the Labor Party throw the barbs that they do and fail to recognise the benefit, not only to the individual but also to the local community and the nation, of Work for the Dole.