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Dutton must offer training through Work for the Dole [Program].

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

Monday 13 June 2005


Labor is calling on Workforce Participation Minister Dutton to announce that his expanded Work for the Dole will guarantee training for participants.

The Howard Government recently announced a vast expansion of Work for the Dole places for the long term unemployed.

“Minister Dutton should use parliament this week to announce that he will fix the biggest weakness in Work for the Dole - the lack of training,” Senator Wong said.

“Fewer than one in three Work for the Dole participants gets a job. Without real training opportunities, putting more people through the program won’t improve job outcomes for the unemployed.

“Minister Dutton has shown yet again that he doesn’t understand that the major problem facing the long term unemployed is a lack of marketable skills. He refuses to ensure that training is offered as part of Work for the Dole.

“The Howard Government is shirking its responsibility to invest in the skills of the unemployed, turning thousands of Australians away from TAFE, at the same time as the nation faces a chronic skills shortage.

“The numbers of very long term unemployed have blown out by 60 per cent in the past five years, yet there are record job vacancies.

“Australia would be better off if Minister Dutton spent his energy on building the skills of unemployed Australians rather than labelling them all shirkers.

“The Salvation Army’s employment services find that only 3 per cent of unemployed are avoiding their mutual obligation requirements.

“By continuing to deny this reality, Minister Dutton is avoiding his responsibility to help people find jobs.

“Instead of just increasing the quantity of Work for the Dole, the Minister should improve the quality.

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