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Monday, 2 March 2015
Page: 1792


Mr LAMING (Bowman) (16:52): There is no greater commission for a government than to provide opportunity for its citizens. Over the last six years of government, we had a welfare bill that exploded out of control and was never tempered with common sense. Of course, McClure has picked up the mantle and, for the second time in a decade, reported to the government about ways to simplify the system down to five basic payments and four simple supplements—for carers, kids, education and housing—to replace the scores of supplements that we have had up until this time. But ultimately the one great missing piece in this puzzle is the 130,000 Australian kids who leave school every year unable to even pick up a broom or get a job. We must do better than that, as we must do for the 150,000 who transfer from youth allowance to Newstart every year once they hit the appropriate age. These are the great failings in our welfare and employment system, and they must be addressed. The great underused area of work experience, tapping into our fantastic private sector and its ability to give small business opportunities to young people, must be a priority. Last year we trebled the number of jobs created in this country. Last year 21,000 new small businesses were created. We need to reach out to them and give them opportunities to employ young people and give them a start. Work experience gives us that opportunity and both sides of politics should support it. (Time expired)