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Monday, 7 November 2005
Page: 36

Mrs MARKUS (2:50 PM) —My question is addressed to the Minister for Workforce Participation. Has the minister seen any new figures which show how Work for the Dole helps participants become work ready? Are there any alternative views?

Mr DUTTON (Minister for Workforce Participation) —I thank the member for Greenway. I know that she is particularly proud of the fact that, under the Howard government, unemployment has dropped from 8.8 per cent to 4.7 per cent. It is a wonderful result of the work that we have been doing in employment programs and helping people off welfare and into work. I am proud to announce today that figures released in relation to Work for the Dole showed that, for around 85 per cent of job participants in Work for the Dole, it had increased their desire to find a job and it had increased their self-esteem, and they were satisfied with their involvement in the project. We know that Work for the Dole is a program that works. It is a program that provides people with an opportunity to contribute back to society. It is a program which supports young people working in a team environment and, for all of those reasons, we still cannot understand why the Labor Party continue to hate Work for the Dole.

We know that the Labor Party would wind back Work for the Dole, despite the fact that it is an incredibly successful program. It is a program that enjoys tremendous support in the electorate, but the reality is that the Labor Party still cannot bring themselves to support this wonderful program. We know that, since 1997, on 336 occasions the Labor Party have taken the opportunity to talk down Work for the Dole. This is a great opportunity for the Leader of the Opposition to show some leadership, to support Work for the Dole and to help young people off the dole and into work.