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Howard Government stunting jobs growth: report.



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Media Release

Penny Wong Labor Senator for South Australia Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance and Responsibility

Monday 6 February 2006

HOWARD GOVERNMENT STUNTING JOBS GROWTH: REPORT

A new report from the Australian Bureau of Statistics highlights how badly the Howard Government is neglecting Australia's growing workforce participation problems, Shadow Employment Minister Penny Wong said today.

The report reveals the barriers which are preventing people from participating in the workforce - barriers which are putting Australia's prosperity at risk.

It shows that a lack of skills and a lack of childcare are the biggest roadblocks for people who want to work.

"The Howard Government is too out of touch to notice that 1.8 million Australians want to work or want more work than they can get," Senator Wong said.

"As a shocking symbol of policy failure after ten long years of Howard Government, 160,500 women who want to work aren't even looking because of a lack of care for their children.

"61 per cent of people aged 25-44 who want to work say they can't even apply for jobs because of childcare shortages.

"The number one barrier to people looking for work or for more hours is lack of skills and training. 107,000 people who are looking for a job can't get one because they don't have the skills.

"At the same time as these Australians have been left on the scrap-heap, the Howard Government has left Australia desperately short of tradespeople and professionals. We need more carpenters, electricians, nurses, teachers and engineers but John Howard has turned 300,000 Australians away from our TAFEs and 180,000 Australians from our universities.

"Labor's priority is to turn around the skills crisis by training Australians first. Labor's plan is to increase the number of young Australians completing apprenticeships through incentives such as; the Skills Account, providing $800 a year to traditional apprentices to cover costs such as TAFE fees, materials and text books and the $2000 Trade Completion bonus."

For further information: • John Olenich - 0408 841 850