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Shack welcomes release of Kirby report



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STATEMENT BY THE SHADOW MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT AND INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS, AND YOUTH AFFAIRS, MR PETER SHACK, MP

Opposition Shadow Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, Mr Peter Shack today welcomed the release of the Kirby report. „ He endorsed the thrust of the report's recommendation that resources should be directed towards training.and education

in the fight against unemployment.

"The policies put forward by the Opposition last year have been resoundingly endorsed by the Kirby report," he said.

"The Kirby report is rightly highly critical of the Government's piecemeal and ad hoc approach to the unemployment problem.

"The package of reforms that we proposed - a rationalisation of existing services towards emphasising education and training, an inquiry into creating a "training wage", and a move away from make-work schemes - have all been echoed by the Report. .

"Mr Willis has tried on a number of occasions to dismiss our education and training approach but it is clear from both the Kirby report and the OECD report that this is the best way to go.

"The Government must now take swift action to deal with the Report," he said. .

"I endorse the concept of the traineeship scheme proposed by the Kirby report. The Committee has obviously recognised the need to direct young people towards effective and realistic training schemes rather than to short-term jobs.

"Similarly, in his discussion of the need for changes to the apprenticeship system, the Kirby Committee has also obviously decided that more emphasis should be put on training.

"Again, the recommendations with regard to changes to the education system, to TAFE in particular, and to simplifying and rationalising the existing labour market programmes are all matters which require very serious consideration."

Mr Shack said he would be discussing the Report with his colleagues and a detailed assessment of the Report will be forthcoming.

"In light, of certain comments by the Minister, it is clear that he is trying to misrepresent certain aspects of the Report in regard to youth wages," Mr Shack said. .

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"The Kirby Committee discusses youth wages directly in only one sentence - and in that, rejects the idea that unemployment can be solved by one simple solution. _ . ·

"I agree.

"But it is important to note that the weight of the evidence shows that levels of youth wages are a contributing factor to youth unemployment, and Kirby's recommendations recognise this implicitly in terms of the traineeship and apprenticeship proposals.

"Therefore, discussion and implementation of Kirby's - recommendations should not be a substitute for rational inquiry into all aspects of the unemployment problem.

"To this point, however, it looks as if the Minister and his Government may use the Kirby inquiry and the OECD report to get away from those areas of wage-fixing and macro-economic policy which certain union leaders will not allow them to

discuss," he said.

24 January 1985