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Kevin Andrew's fourth paint job can't fix faulty foundations of welfare changes.

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Media Release

Penny Wong

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

Tuesday 8 November 2005



In a desperate attempt to appease community and backbench concern over the Howard Government's extreme and discredited welfare changes, Employment Minister Kevin Andrews has announced a further back-down.

Shadow Employment Minister, Penny Wong, said that these desperate new proposals only make the welfare system more complicated, without helping many vulnerable Australians to make ends meet.

"This is the fourth coat of paint on the welfare changes since they were announced in the May Budget," Senator Wong said.

"Even the most incompetent Government minister should have learned by now that you can't fix faulty foundations with a new paint job.

"But the cold heart of the changes remains: a cut to the household budget of Australia's most vulnerable families.

"Labor supports real welfare reform, because nobody benefits from unemployment. People who can work, should work. But real welfare reform doesn't cut help to those who need it.

"Real welfare reform would provide more reward for effort, help balance work and family life, and give people the chance to get the skills they need to get a job.

"But after nine long years, the Howard Government has failed to deliver a competent plan to help people move from welfare to work.

"All the Howard Government is doing is dumping people onto the dole.

"Today's back-down makes the system more complicated for parents, while the new measures for people with a disability are pathetic.

"And the Government has announced that people with a disability and parents can be forced to accept a job that pays below an award. Jobseekers will be required to take work that only meets the five minimum conditions, removing the protections of an award."

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• John Olenich 0408 841 850