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Wednesday, 17 November 1976

Mr INNES (Melbourne) - I would like to raise this evening the shortcomings of the community youth support scheme which has been projected by the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations (Mr Street). The scheme purports to assist people who are unemployed. Under the scheme community groups will receive financial assistance for supportive programs and for services to the young unemployed. This scheme is outlined in a document which has been received by members of this House. It involves job search orientation groups, voluntary community activities and vocational, hobby and interest expanding activity. Great things! What a conglomeration! People perhaps will have to be paid in kind. I am not quite sure what is meant. People may get some favour for mowing lawns. I am not quite sure what it is all about. The point is being missed. If the Government wants to do anything, it should be funding job creation and job placement programs. It has been indicated that they will not be funded. Local communities in which there is a disproportionately high percentage of youth unemployed will be encouraged to establish local committees to initiate and co-ordinate community efforts. Local Federal members will be given the opportunity to chair or to nominate chairmen of these local groups. God knows what we will do when this happens.

The Commonwealth Government community youth support scheme at least shows some initiative in organisation, but one must be dismayed that community self-help groups will not be funded for job placement and job creation programs. The majority of self-help groups are actively involved in job placement and are doing a very good job. I refer to groups of young people such as Jobless Action in Canberra, Get a Job in Blacktown, YOU in Fitzroy, Job Shop in Shepparton, Job Shop in Kyabram, Youth a Job Need in Deniliquin, Pace in Frankston and the Geelong YCW Unemployment Group. All these groups have the potential, if they are properly used, co-ordinated, funded and assisted by the local member in a real sense -

Mr Scholes - They should be encouraged instead of being sat on.

Mr INNES - Yes, they should be encouraged instead of being sat on, as the honourable member for Corio indicates. In the United States of America and Canada community groups are funded for these purposes. It is accepted that for some of the unemployed these groups will provide a more relevant and meaningful service. It does not have to be the Commonwealth Employment Service that places people in jobs. Young people might be more willing to go along and talk to people of their own age. The program seems to be totally inadequate when we go through the rigmarole that is outlined by the Minister.

At present the unemployed are virtually powerless and voiceless. The establishment of the self-help groups in the Victorian Federation of Self-help Groups is a tentative but significant step forward for the unemployed to participate in the decision making processes on issues that really affect them. The majority of unemployed want jobs. The Government should provide funds for job creation programs. To divert the unemployed into skill acquisition, motivation maintenance and voluntary work is to divert the unemployed and the unemployment issue away from the shortage of jobs to the shortcomings of the unemployed. To do something positive, the proposition needs to have some teeth. There has to be a program arranged around it, with proper co-ordination and organisation. The local members can do that. We ought to understand that the community self-help groups depend on the approval of the members of Parliament and local committees. I have taken the initiative in organising a meeting.

While the initial aspects of the scheme may be given some consideration, it is a pity that the Commonwealth youth support scheme attempts to define acceptable funded programs and unacceptable non-funded programs. I urge the Government to reconsider the requirements and implications of this scheme concerning the initiatives to non-government community organisations. When a program is being designed these organisations ought to be properly and adequately consulted. They ought to be funded in a proper way, with the accent on finding jobs. The Government should not dither around in the way -

Mr DEPUTY SPEAKER -Order! The honourable member's time has expired.

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