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Western Sydney meets jobs challenge: Crean issues another

The Minister for Employment, Education and Training, Simon Crean, today congratulated members of the Central Western and Outer Western Sydney Area Consultative Committees (ACCs) and the CES on creating 19,000 job opportunities in the past six months.

The challenge was issued last November during the 'Kelty, Fox, Crean' regional job tour to encourage employers to lodge vacancies with the CES and to take advantage of the generous subsidies available under the Federal Government's employment and training strategy, Working Nation.

Mr Crean said the 19,000 vacancies lodged with the CES is a marked increase over the same period the year before when only 17,000 vacancies were lodged.

"The number of unemployed people in the Western Sydney region has fallen dramatically in the last 12 months with the unemployment rate in Central Western Sydney dropping from 15.9 per cent to 10 per cent. The unemployment rate for Outer Western Sydney has fallen from 10.4 per cent to 6.9 per cent with employment growing by a very impressive 17.2 per cent," he said.

The Minister said it was important to maintain the momentum and he issued another challenge to the ACCs and the CES to create 21,000 job opportunities in Western Sydney over the next six months.

"The success of the first jobs drive is largely due to the partnership approach developed under the Working Nation jobs teams or ACCs," he said.

"Western Sydney businesses and community groups have worked with the Federal Government to identify their region's strengths and develop the right employment and training programs to build a diverse regional skills base.

"The 19,000 job opportunities were generated in industry sectors including manufacturing (21%), wholesale/retail (30%), recreation (12%), construction (8%), Community services (7.5%), finance and property (7%) and other (14.5%).

"The ACCs used their networks and industry contacts to make employers aware of the benefits available when taking someone on under the Working Nation program. It is an example of what can be achieved when industry, community and government bodies join forces to combat unemployment."

Mr Crean said the Federal Government had committed $80 million to help beat unemployment in the Outer and Central Western Sydney regions by providing quality work and training opportunities for the long term unemployed.

Member for Parramatta, Paul Elliott, said this is money well spent helping people develop the skills needed to become productive members of the Australian workforce.

"For example, in Parramatta the Federal Government spent $3.2 million to provide training for 450 people under the Landcare and Environment Action Program (LEAP), more than $10 million to help 4,323 people with English language or literacy difficulties and a further $25.6 million to help more than 8,000 long team unemployed people into jobs through Jobskills, Jobtrain and Jobstart," he said.

The Minister and Mr Elliott paid tribute to the Outer Western Sydney ACC Chair, Jim Bosnjak and Central Western ACC chair, Ross Jones, who played a key role in a number of new initiatives, including the Parramatta River Foreshore re-development under the New Work Opportunities (NWO) program with the Parramatta City Council. This alone will help 350 long team unemployed people.

Mr Crean said the recent Budget provided a substantial real increase in expenditure on labour market programs and training assistance under Working Nation, from $1.7 billion this year to $2.2 billion in 1995-96 and to $2.3 billion in 1996-97.

"This is the highest level of commitment ever made by an Australian Government to assistance for the unemployed.

"Working Nation contributed savings to this year's Budget based on the forward estimates of expenditure in last year's Budget. The savings reflect both the strong improvements in the labour market over the past 12 months and the efficiencies achieved in the delivery of Working Nation.

"No-one who was originally eligible for employment and training assistance will be denied access to that assistance by dint of the latest Budget decisions, nor will there be any reduction in the quality of service and level of help for unemployed people."

Contacts: Catherine Payne, Simon Crean's Office (06) 277 7460 or 018 174 875

Ross Jones, Central Western Sydney ACC Chair (02) 630 4988