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Monday, 16 November 2009
Page: 11754

Ms MARINO (8:27 PM) —I rise tonight to speak on the Social Security Amendment (National Green Jobs Corps Supplement) Bill 2009. The bill will introduce a training supplement of $41.60 a fortnight for eligible participants in the Green Jobs Corps. The Green Jobs Corps is a six-month work-experience program for people aged between 18 and 24 who have been unemployed for more than 12 months. As we are all aware, the Green Jobs Corps was announced at the 2009 ALP conference, where the Prime Minister promised to deliver 50,000 new green jobs. However, I would like to point out that, in reality, only 6,000 of the 50,000 jobs are actually real jobs. Furthermore, only 10,000 of the 50,000 green jobs are for young jobseekers in the Green Jobs Corps. The Green Jobs Corps will start on 1 January 2010, with places available until December 2011.

Whilst the coalition recognises that the Green Jobs Corps is not actually a job, we believe work experience is a start in the right direction. Work-experience programs such as Work for the Dole, the Green Corps and the Green Jobs Corps are designed to improve the employability of those who are unemployed, providing pathways to a job and helping job seekers to become job ready. As the previous speaker said, it also gives young people the opportunity to find out not only what they do want to do but perhaps what they do not want to do. It assists them in making their career decisions.

The Green Jobs Corps, which was an initiative of the former coalition government, was established as a volunteer youth development and environmental training program, giving young people the opportunity to help preserve the environment and Australia’s cultural heritage. It was a very valuable program. More than 18,000 young Australians participated in the Green Jobs Corps program, planting more than 14 million trees, erecting more than 8,000 kilometres of fencing and undertaking in excess of 5,000 surveys into native flora and fauna. In my electorate of Forrest, three Green Corps projects were granted. They were aimed at restoring healthier ecosystems as well as educating young people on revegetation management practices—and they did it very well. Two of the projects were provided through Mission Australia in Bunbury. The purpose of the first project was to help restore a healthier ecosystem, which in turn assisted with more serious problems—

The DEPUTY SPEAKER (Ms AE Burke)—Order! The debate is interrupted in accordance with standing order 34. The debate is adjourned and the resumption of the debate will be made an order of the day for the next sitting. The member will have leave to continue speaking when the debate is resumed.