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Tuesday, 11 December 1973
Page: 2629

Senator DAVIDSON - My question which is addressed to the Minister representing the Minister for Labour refers to statements made at the weekend in Adelaide by representatives of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry claiming that school leavers were applying for unemployment relief payments to provide them with pocket money without first seeking employment. Have such statements been drawn to his colleague's attention? If so, can he say or will be endeavour to find out for me whether they are true? Can he say whether there are ample employment opportunities for school leavers in South Australia? Will he investigate the statements and take steps to protect public funds?

Senator BISHOP - Senator Davidsonprobably remembers that last week Senator Jessop asked a similar question of me and I told him at that stage that I would make inquiries of the Minister for Labour about the matter. But I made the point, which I think is sound, that school leavers are entitled to unemployment benefits. It would seem to me that there are circumstances in which many young people do have to wait to take up positions. Jobs are advertised and the positions sometimes are not available immediately. In many cases people have to wait until positions are available, and it would seem to me to be reasonable to expect that they should receive benefits that others get because in many cases those young people are helping to keep families going or would be expected to do so. I have also noticed that while the Manager of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry made this observation, the Minister for Labour, in his recent report about the employment position, made the observation on behalf of his Department that the circumstances resulting from the shortage of tradesmen meant that employers were employing vacation students and other young people more quickly than they would do ordinarily if skilled labour were available. So whatever is happening in relation to school leavers, the position would seem to me, if that forecast is right, that they will be taken into industry more quickly than they would have been had there been that pool of skilled people that is usually available at this time of the year.

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