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Thursday, 5 April 1984
Page: 1300

Senator FOREMAN —My question is directed to the Minister representing the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations. I refer the Minister to recent claims by some self-help groups for the adult unemployed in South Australia that they are failing to deliver an adequate service because of lack of funding from the Federal Government. In view of the very desperate situation many of these projects are experiencing at present, and in view of the relatively long time spent in unemployment by mature age people, will the Minister consider providing funding to these self-help groups in the next financial year? If not, what can the Minister do to ensure the survival of these very worthwhile support groups?

Senator BUTTON —The Government is aware of the problems facing the mature age unemployed and the financial restraints under which self-help groups operate. The Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations has asked the Committee of Inquiry into Labour Market Programs specifically to examine the employment training and retraining needs of mature age unemployed, particularly the longer term older unemployed, and to look at the existing programs relating to that section of the unemployed work force.

The Department will be making a submission to that Committee of Inquiry. One of the aspects of the submission will relate to the question of the disabilities of mature age unemployed. That Committee will complete its review by the end of this year. In the meantime, I suggest to Senator Foreman that it might be helpful if he advised those groups which are endeavouring to assist older workers who are in the unemployed category that special assistance might be available under the Commonwealth employment program and that such special assistance would be available through Commonwealth Employment Service offices.