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No apology for Work for the Dole.



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THE HON MAL BROUGH MP

MINISTER FOR EMPLOYMENT SERVICES

Media Release

07704

No Apology For Work For The Dole

Today’s poll on page 19 of the Herald Sun is confirmation of the community’s overwhelming support for Work for the Dole, Minister for Employment Services, Mal Brough, said today.

It’s also proof that recent criticism of the program and participants by the Labor Party, the welfare lobby and unions is way out of step with public opinion and reality.

"Work for the Dole is all about mutual obligation and the notion that people receiving unemployment benefits should actively seek work and give something back to the community," Mr Brough said.

"It is also about exposing job seekers to worthwhile and well-supervised tasks to restore their confidence and boost their work skills so they can get a job."

The poll showed that 74.4% of callers to the paper supported Work for the Dole, including those projects with an art component.

Mr Brough said Work for the Dole has been a signature program of the Howard Government since 1997 and that for years the Labor Party had been knocking it, threatening to water it down, or scrap it despite the fact that local communities had benefited through 17,538 worthwhile projects across Australia the involvement of 285,639 unemployed people.

These projects have included everything from assisting drought affected farmers, revegetating bushfire affected areas and restoring historical sites through to providing people with experience in retail sales, office administration and information technology and helping communities with child care, aged care and support for disability groups.

"Art based projects are also important," Mr Brough said.

"Bayswater has been beautified by replacing ugly graffiti with attractive murals. Puppets have been made and given free of charge to local preschools, kindergartens and primary schools. A disability group has produced a low cost calendar so that local community organisations can advertise their services. And hospitals and the houses of the elderly have been decorated at the suggestion of St John’s Ambulance."

Mr Brough said that despite Work for the Dole’s focus on mutual obligation it was also one of the best employment and work experience programs in the world and was especially successful in providing job outcomes for unemployed youth.

An independent evaluation of the program by Professor John and Ann Nevile of the Centre for Applied Economic research at the University of NSW titled Work for the Dole Obligation or Opportunity (2003) stated that:

"Work for the Dole is most effective in helping youth and young adults find jobs."

"Overseas active labour market programs have a poor record in assisting this age group."

More information about Work for the Dole can be found at www.workplace.gov.au .

For further information contact:

Paul Edwards Minister Broughs Office 0402 919 333

Further information on Work for the Dole: Sharon Stuart, 02 6121 5606

28/05/2004