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Only Andrews convinced by his new paint job.

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Media Release

Penny Wong Labor Senator for South Australia Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance and Responsibility

21 September 2005


After nine long years and countless announcements, the Howard Government still can’t organise itself to deliver welfare reform, Shadow Employment Minister Penny Wong said today.

Senator Wong was responding to Employment Minister Kevin Andrews’ latest touch-up paint job on the welfare changes announced in the May Budget.

Some people “may be eligible to seek exemption” from aspects of the changes.

But Minister Andrews is arrogantly pushing on with the most extreme and discredited aspect of the changes, pushing people onto a lower welfare payment.

Even parents with special circumstances who win exemption from job search obligations will still be pushed onto the dole under this out of touch Government.

“Kevin Andrews may hope to look reasonable by making these concessions, but all he is doing is drawing attention to the most extreme effects of his welfare changes on vulnerable Australians,” Senator Wong said.

“These are the same extreme and discredited changes that were announced in the Budget, with a new paint job.

“These changes will leave people with a disability working for an effective wage of $2.27 an hour. Sole parents will work for $3.88 an hour.

“Once they pay for the cost of getting to work, and pay for childcare, many people will have less money working than they do now on welfare.

“Saying you want to get people off welfare by reducing the incentive to work takes incompetence to a whole new level.

“The Howard Government should own up and admit that the core of their changes leaves vulnerable Australians worse off. It will take more than a new coat of pastel paint to deliver real welfare reform.”

For further information: • John Olenich - 0408 841 850