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Labor will close 2,000 job network sites & fail unemployed.

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MEDIA RELEASE The Hon. Fran Bailey, MP Minister for Employment Services Minister Assisting the Minister for Defence Thursday, 7 October 2004 LABOR WILL CLOSE 2,000 JOB NETWORK SITES & FAIL UNEMPLOYED Labor will close more than 2,000 Job Network sites across Australia, spend millions on office relocations and upgrades, rename existing programs and ultimately fail the unemployed, including thousands of disadvantaged job seekers. Labor simply wants to turn back the clock fifteen years on economic management, workplace relations and now, employment services. The reality is Job Network is working - it has placed more than 570,000 Australians, including 105,000 mature age and 27,000 disabled, into jobs since July 2003. This is the best performance of employment services on record. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? As reported today, Labor wants to centralise Job Network offices under the same physical roof as Centrelink, with only “some” exceptions. There are 430 Centrelink service centres. But there are more than 2,700 Job Network sites across Australia. More than 2,000 Job Network sites serving local communities will be forced to close. This will be a massive impact on rural Australia who currently benefit from Job Network’s strong local presence. How will 6 or 7 Job Network agencies and all their staff physically fit into one Centrelink office? Centrelink offices are already at capacity. Will Labor buy 400 larger offices? Will they pay out existing leases? How much will this cost? No wonder Labor has waited until five-minutes-to-midnight to ensure this plan was not costed by Treasury. This will cost millions. Labor’s plan is simply an ideological smokescreen to hide what it really wants to achieve, closing down Job Network and recreating the old CES model - a model that failed one million unemployed Australians last time Labor was in government. Anthony Albanese has also promised to rename what already happens. For example, Job Network already has 104 specialist Job Network sites across Australia delivering services for disadvantaged groups. Another promise is to develop an action plan for job seekers. This already happens - its called a Job Search Plan. Anthony Albanese’s only plan is for a committee to come up with some ideas. No wonder Mark Latham described his Shadow Minister on Radio 2GB (14/12/98), by saying: “And I said to a journalist earlier today … that if anyone can find a positive speech or idea that Anthony Albanese has ever put forward in public life I’ll buy them a lottery ticket!”