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$156 million credibility gap in schemes for labor's unemployed



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SHADOW MINISTER FOR SOCIAL SECURITY

NEWS RELEASE

frlfie MTT.T.TON nRF.DTBTTJTY GAP m STHF-MRS FOR LABOR’S UNEMPLOYED

Information I have received suggests that the Government has seriously underspent in at least three of its major labour market training programs for the unemployed. Senator Cook did not attempt to deny this in Question Time today.

The latest Department of Employment, Education and Training (DEBT) projections to the end of the financial year predict that the JOBSTART wage subsidy program for the labour market disadvantaged will be underspent by $44 million: the JOBTRAIN program for the long-term unemployed will be underspent by $5 million: and the Jobskills training wage program will be underspent by $20 million.

In the light of the revelation that underspending on programs for the unemployed will reach at least $69 million, it is extraordinary that the Minister for Finance will today introduce to the Lower House a special appropriation bill seeking a further $87 million for these programs, when despite there being one milhon Australians out of work and expenditure per unemployed person on these programs being the lowest since 1982, the Government cannot spend what it already has allocated to the area.

Two questions are thus raised:

1. Why is the Government seeking $87 million extra today for labour market programs when its own figuring suggests that by the end of this financial year, $69 million will go unspent on labour market programs anyway; and

2. How is it possible for the Government to have so seriously underspent on its training programs when it continually harps on about how beneficial they are, and given that a record one million Australians unemployed?

Tuesday, 24 March 1992.

For further information contact: Senator Richard Alston on [06] 277 3605.