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Wednesday, 24 August 1983
Page: 147

Mr DAWKINS (Minister for Finance and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Public Service Matters)(10.56) —I move:

That the Bill be now read a second time.

The primary purpose of this Bill is to facilitate the introduction of the Government's community employment program in the Public Service. The community employment program is the Government's major job creation program which, when fully operational, is expected to create up to 70,000 new jobs nationally in a year on worthwhile community projects. Project jobs will have a duration of between three months and 12 months, with an average job duration of around six months.

Nationally, $300m of Federal funds is to be made available for the community employment program during 1983-84. Two hundred and fifty million dollars of this is to be apportioned to voluntary organisations, local authorities and State government departments and authorities, with the balance of $50m being made available to Federal departments and authorities. Thus, whilst the major part of expenditure for the program will be through State, local government and voluntary agencies, it is the Government's intention that a leading role will be played by Commonwealth departments and authorities.

The aim of the community employment program is to provide employment for those most in need of it, preference being given to those who have been registered with the Commonwealth Employment Service for nine months or more. Particular attention is also being given to ensure that the community employment program provides employment opportunities to women, Aboriginals, migrants, the disabled and other disadvantaged groups in the community.

The amendments proposed in this Bill will enable the temporary employment provisions of the Public Service Act to be used for the purposes of the community employment program and will ensure that those most in need of work are able to gain employment in the Public Service for the purposes of this program. Similar amendments are also proposed in relation to the national employment strategy for Aboriginals and the Commonwealth work experience program. The opportunity has also been taken to make a technical amendment to the Public Service Act relating to the definition of 'Department' to give full effect to amendments made to that definition by the Public Service Acts Amendment Act 1982 . Honourable members are referred to details of this amendment included in the explanatory memorandum. I commend the Bill to the House.

Debate (on motion by Mr Connolly) adjourned.