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Unemployed could pay a high price for illiteracy



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M ed ia Release

UNEMPLOYED COULD PAY A HIGH PRICE FOR ILLITERACY

Unemployed people without basic literacy and numeracy skills could lose their benefits under a new social security arrangement to be introduced on July 1,

Northern Territory CLP Senator Grant Tambling issued the warning in the Senate last night during debate on the Social Security (Job Search and Newstart) Amendment Bill 1991.

"The Federal Government proposes changes to the unemployment benefit from July 1 this year: a Job Search allowance for the first 12 months of unemployment and a Newstart allowance after that. Under the latter category, people will be asked to sign employment training contracts to remain eligible for benefits."

Senator Tambling said he was concerned that people without basic literacy and numeracy skills could not access the required training programs and, therefore, risked losing their benefits.

"Literacy programs are already stretched to the limit. They will be unable to cope with any increase in applications or referrals from the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES) after July 1.

"The Federal Government must ensure that people without such skills, particularly those in geographically isolated areas, are assisted and given the opportunity to participate in appropriate vocational and educational training programs."

The Social Security Minister, Senator Graham Richardson, acknowledged Senator Tambling's concerns when he told the Senate:

"One point raised by Senator Tambling that is also worthy of meuLiun its the question of literacy and numeracy skills. The Government must have a strategy for very early intervention where these deficiencies are discovered.

"Already the Government has announced some considerable funds for that intervention program, I would not pretend that we have done all that we need to do yet. It is a matter that we ought to be

looking at further during the course of Budget discussions."

ENDS Contact: Senator Grant Tambling (06) 2773436 Tiz zeroni (06) 2773436

5.6.91

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