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The Federal government to provide $8.4 million to help redundant Australian National rail workers to get new jobs



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STATEMENT FROM THE MINISTER FOR INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, SENATOR PETER COOK, THE MINISTER FOR LAND TRANSPORT, MR BOB BROWN, THE MINISTER FOR IMMIGRATION, LOCAL GOVERNMENT AND ETHNIC AFFAIRS, MR GERRY HAND AND THE MINISTER FOR HIGHER EDUCATION AND

EMPLOYMENT SERVICES, MR PETER BALDWIN

The Federal Government is to provide $8.4 million to help redundant Australian National rail workers get new jobs.

The assistance will be specially tailored to meet the needs of the workers and the regions in which they live.

Individual workers will receive a range of assistance, including special counselling, wage subsidies in industries other than rail, work experience placements, formal vocational and English language training and relocation assistance.

One particularly important feature of the assistance is that retraining and work experience placements will be made available to workers before they are retrenched. This will

help ensure that«as far as possible they can move new jobs without a period of unemployment.

This assistance will be provided through the Office of Labour Market Adjustment (OLMA), which is part of the Federal Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEBT).

The Government will also provide money, through the Federal Office of Local Government (OLG), to develop an economic strategy for the regions and to support the development of new enterprises and job opportunities.

The strategies will be developed using the same approach as the highly successful Country Centres Project. Assistance will be given to regional economic committees to undertake feasibility studies, improve market information, and encourage

local business opportunities.

Over the next two years, as part of the Government's micro­ reform agenda, Australian National (AN) will rationalise its rail services in South Australia and Tasmania. This will mean about 1800 redundancies among rail workers, located mainly in South Australia and Tasmania.

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As the whole community will benefit from these reforms, the Government is determined to ensure that workers who lose their jobs are given every assistance to find alternative employment.

The localities particularly affected are Whyalla, Port Adelaide, Port Pirie, Peterborough, and Northern Adelaide in South Australia, and Launceston in Tasmania.

OLMA and OLG will begin work immediately to implement the measures.

Tuesday 17 December 1991

Contact: Susan Gray Senator Cook's Office PH 06 2777320

Bob Davidson Peter Baldwin's Office PH 06 2777540

Geoff Prior Gerry Hand's Office PH 06 2777860