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Monday, 1 December 2003
Page: 23304

Mr CIOBO (2:57 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Employment Services. Will the minister inform the House how Work for the Dole is helping to protect Australia's heritage?

Mr BROUGH (Minister for Employment Services and Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence) —I thank the member for Moncrieff for his interest not only in Work for the Dole but in all the unemployed people on the Gold Coast whom he is working hard to get back into work. Unfortunately, there are still those people who continue to think of Work for the Dole in negative terms. In fact, the Australian Financial Review today had in its editorial `clearing blackberries and weeding nature strips'. The member for Moncrieff's question highlights that this is a diverse program of mutual obligation which, as I pointed out to the House only recently, has racked up some 38,000 man-years of community work. Much of that is, in fact, work on conserving our heritage. You would be aware that, up in the member for Moncrieff's electorate, the first paddle steamer in south-east Queensland has been refurbished, which is a very important part of forming an interpretive centre in Nerang.

Honourable members interjecting

The SPEAKER —Order! The minister has the call.

Mr BROUGH —Mr Speaker, something is titillating them over there today. The refurbishment of this paddle steamer is an important part of Queensland history and just goes to show the diverse range of projects. Of course on a very large national scale, in Adelaide, Perth, Sydney and Melbourne, the Work for the Dole participants are putting our old handwritten records onto a database as part of assisting with our national archives. And on a further diverse program, the first mail-run aircraft, the Bleriot XI, has been touring around Australia since February this year at various airshows and will be housed in the Queen Victoria Museum in Launceston in Tasmania at the completion of that tour. Work for the Dole is not just about such things as cleaning up nature strips, as the Australian Financial Review would have you believe; it is about assisting individuals, building better communities and building Australia's history, which is so significant for future generations.

Mr Howard —Mr Speaker, I ask that further questions be placed on the Notice Paper.