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Job figures show complacency must end.

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Media Release

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

Thursday 9 February 2006


Labor is concerned by the increase in unemployment in January, Shadow Employment Minister Penny Wong said today.

The unemployment rate rose to 5.3 per cent, its highest level in 14 months.

Meanwhile teenage unemployment continued to flat-line, with more than one in five teenagers who want full-time work unable to get it.

These figures come on top of this week's ABS report which adds to the growing and incontrovertible evidence that further growth in jobs is being stunted by a lack of training and a lack of affordable childcare.

"The Howard Government in its arrogance has just hoped the good times will keep on rolling," Senator Wong said.

"But future jobs growth is being stunted by the Howard Government's failure to invest in the skills of jobless Australians.

"The number one barrier to people looking for work or for more hours is lack of skills and training - and employers are desperate for skilled workers.

"Meanwhile, over 160,000 Australian women who want to work aren't even looking for a job because they can't get childcare.

"And Australians who try to move into work are pummelled with punishing effective tax rates that make welfare more financially rewarding than work.

"Clearly, the Howard Government is leaving the Australian job market unprepared."

Labor's priority is to turn around the skills crisis by training Australians first.

Labor's plan is to increase the number of young Australians completing apprenticeships through incentives such as; the Skills Account, providing $800 a

year to traditional apprentices to cover costs such as TAFE fees, materials and text books and the $2000 Trade Completion bonus.

For further information: John Olenich - 0408 841 850