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Labour calls for practical welfare to work solution.

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Media Release

Penny Wong

Labor Senator for South Australia

Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance and Responsibility Wednesday 30 November 2005


Labor has called on the Howard Government to offer a Training Bonus as a practical solution to move people from welfare into work, instead of just dumping single parents and people with a disability onto the dole. Parliament is debating welfare changes today.

The Training Bonus would help the costs of study like books and transport for single parents and people with a disability.

"While Australia faces a skills crisis, the Howard Government is stopping jobless Australians from getting the skills employers need," Shadow Employment Minister Penny Wong said.

"We need to be encouraging jobless Australians to gain skills so they can get off welfare and help fix the skills crisis.

"But the Howard Government is leaving jobseekers and the nation unprepared."

Under the Howard Government's incompetent welfare changes, when single parents and people with a disability are dumped onto the dole, they will be refused access to access the Pensioner Education Supplement. This supplement acts as a bonus to working-age pension recipients who are improving their job prospects through approved training or education.

Currently the Pensioner Education Supplement provides $62.40 for full-time study and $31.20 for part-time study each fortnight.

"Blocking access to training shows how badly the Howard Government has botched welfare reform. After all, a person only gets a job if they have the skills an employer needs.

"Offering this Training Bonus to single parents and people with a disability provides a better incentive and more help to get a job.

"But most single parents have no post-school qualifications. Real welfare reform would give these people a chance to get off the dole queue and into a job.

"This is a practical step the Howard Government could take today that would help Australians to move off the dole and into work."

For further information: John Olenich - 0408 841 850