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Blame youth: no new programs, no extra money.

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Media Release


Federal Member for Chifley

PO Box 259 Mt Druitt NSW 2770


For immediate release





Yesterday John Howard made the announcement that his government will be "requiring unemployed youn g people who fail basic literacy and numeracy tests to undertake appropriate remedial courses if they are to continue to receive their full dole payment"


"One of the tragic outcomes of this policy, to cut access to benefits, will be that more youth will fall through the social security net." Chifley MP Roger Price said today, "How many will become additions to our sorry youth suicide statistics which are the second highest in the developed world?"


"This policy announcement betrays any understanding or empathy with the young marginalised people it is aimed at. "


“I invite John Howard to attend a young person's funeral in my electorate to see how his policies and his policy failures have so profoundly affected my community."


“This new policy is an attack on the most marginalised group of young people in Australia. There might not be too many affected in Mr Howard's leafy North Shore electorate but there will be in the Western Suburbs of Sydney and in my electorate of Chifley" said Mr Price.


"Young people don't choose to be illiterate. I have never yet, met one young person who has proudly boasted of their illiteracy or boasted of their refusal to learn when given half a chance.n


"Young people are illiterate, notwithstanding the schooling they received; they cannot read and write. This is a failure of the system for which the individuals are being blamed, and now, it seems, punished."


By the time young people have dropped out of school," Mr Price said, 1heir problems are far greater than just not being able to read and write. Compulsory literacy courses will not solve the wider problems facing our unemployed youth of today.


Where is the extra money, where are the new programs to combat these problems?


The Howard government has always been strident about literacy levels at schools but at the same time have constantly cut back funding to our government schools.



Media Contact: Steve Duffy  Phone: 02-9625 4344 or 0413 638 237

29 th January 1999 Fox: 02-9832 2641