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ALP employment policy half-hearted.

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats

Employment Spokesperson


23 September 1998





The ALP has produced a half-hearted and hypocritical employment policy, which mixes under-resourced good ideas with policies which sell out young people and the long-term unemployed, said the Australian Democrats’ Employment Spokesperson, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja.


Speaking in Tasmania, a state with 11.4 percent unemployment — the highest in the country - Senator Stott Despoja criticised the inadequate policies of the old parties in addressing what Australian’s have consistently rated as the most important issue in this campaign.


“In contrast with the Australian Democrats, the ALP have no proposals to assist long-term unemployed people, will continue to scapegoat young people for being unemployed without actually providing them with real opportunities, will keep Job Network as a competitive market and has provided minimal funding to public service and infrastructure spending.”


Senator Stott Despoja was particularly critical of the proposed expansion of the Work for the Dole scheme.


“This is one of the worst cases of the ALP selling out a sector of society it claims to represent. After initially recognising the regressive nature of this policy, Labor voted in favour of it last year, and now wants to devote $316.5 million over the next three years expanding it.


“Young people deserve better than this scheme, which is all about hiding the true extent of youth unemployment by forcing young job seekers into short-term projects, with minimal training and minimal chances of finding permanent, meaningful employment at the end of their participation.


“Long-term unemployed people have also been sold out under the ALP policy. Where are the initiatives to provide them with intensive, specialised assistance to enable them to compete for jobs in the labour market?


“This policy will not achieve the 5 percent target set by the ALP, but condemns Australia’s job seekers to continued hardship by keeping the flawed Job Network and will particularly alienate young and long-term job seekers.


“The Australian Democrats are the only party to realise that addressing unemployment requires an integrated approach, to increase job creation and training opportunities, rather than wasting resources on short-term, dead-end initiatives such as Work for the Dole,” concluded Senator Stott Despoja.


Senator Stott Despoja will be in Launceston this afternoon and in Mel bourne this evening


For comment, contact Senator Stott Despoja on 0418 812 589 or Dr Charles Lawson on 0414 674 797