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Minister re-announces changes to hide incompetence.

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Media Release

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

19 August, 2005


Workforce Participation Minister Peter Dutton has re-announced inadequate changes to Work for the Dole to bury criticism from the Auditor-General of the Government's incompetent management of the Job Network, Shadow Employment Minister Penny Wong said today.

"Banning basket-weaving may grab headlines, but it doesn't fix Work for the Dole's biggest problem," Senator Wong said.

"Currently, Work for the Dole is the Government's worst-performing employment program.

"Fewer than one in three participants in Work for the Dole ends up with a job, because the Howard Government does not ensure the program provides training that leads to jobs.

"Unemployed Australians should be given a real opportunity to gain real work skills and real jobs - not permanent life on the dole. But the Howard Government leaves unemployed Australians unprepared by relying too much on an imported skills 'quick fix'.

"The Minister first announced these changes in June. He has re-announced them today to bury a new report by the Auditor-General into the Job Network.

"The Auditor-General has again highlighted the Howard Government's incompetence in managing the Job Network.

"The Government has admitted to the Auditor-General that the Job Network's performance data is flawed because it does not take into account external factors like economic trends.

"Even worse, the Government is unwilling and unable to tell Australians how much each Job Network outcome is really costing - and they are refusing the Auditor-General's recommendation to provide this information.

"The report also provides further evidence that the Job Network doesn't do enough help to welfare recipients get work.

"The real question is how it is going to cope with an inflow of welfare recipients, when all the evidence shows the Job Network fails struggling job seekers. These struggling job seekers will now get even less support because the Howard Government's changes to welfare are so incompetent."

For further information: John Olenich - 0408 841 850