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Will Sharman Stone correct her Prime Minister?

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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 30 January 2006


The new Workforce Participation Minister, Sharman Stone, must correct her confused Prime Minister, who doesn't seem to understand the effect of his workforce policies, Shadow Employment Minister Penny Wong said today.

This morning, in response to a damaging report into the Howard Government's incompetent workforce participation policies by Professor Mark Wooden of the respected Melbourne Institute, the Prime Minister incorrectly asserted that his Government was making work more attractive than welfare.

The reality is that the Howard Government is crushing incentive. People who move from welfare to work will give most of what they earn back to the Government.

"Under the Government's incompetent welfare changes, John Howard will take back as much as 75 cents of every dollar a welfare recipient earns through tax and reduction in benefits.

"People who move from welfare to work actually go backwards financially.

"Coupled with the extreme industrial relations changes which will drive down wages, the rewards from work will be wiped out.

"The new Minister must indicate whether she is in favour of a system that rewards welfare over work.

"If the Minister is like most Australians and does believe that work is better than welfare, she must make sure that people are adequately rewarded for working.

"Australia faces a skills crisis and an ageing population, so we need greater workforce participation. The new Minister must acknowledge the failings of her colleagues and fix them.”

For further information: • John Olenich 0408 841 850