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Howard Government's entitlements scheme helps Aywon workers.

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Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business HOWARD GOVERNMENT’S ENTITLEMENTS SCHEME HELPS AYWON WORKERS

Money from the Howard Government’s Employee Entitlements Support Scheme for 89 former workers of Aywon, part of the Supreme 3 group of companies, will begin flowing to the Aywon Administrator next week.

Tony Abbott, Federal Minister for Employment, Workplace Relations and Small Business said ‘I understand that the Administrator will then distribute this money to former Aywon workers within a matter of days, although that will be a matter for the Administrator.’

By this time, the Howard Government will have made Employee Entitlements Support Scheme payments for more than 150 of the almost 200 former workers for the Supreme 3 group of companies.

The Administrator is finalising entitlements information for the remaining former workers for the Supreme 3 group of companies. Once my Department has been able to verify entitlements for these workers, it will send scheme monies to the Administrator for distribution to workers.

In any insolvency situation, employees’ claims to their entitlements have to be verified - this relies in large part on the accuracy of the former employer’s records, as well as ongoing liaison with the responsible insolvency practitioner. Aywon’s employee records were in a poor state.

The Coalition has been the first and only Australian Government to establish a national scheme to assist workers in this situation. Over $10 million has been paid to disadvantaged employees under the Coalition’s safety net scheme.

This is a dramatic contrast to what Labor governments have done, and are doing. Under the previous federal Labor Government there was no entitlements safety net at all. Under Labor, 260,000 employees lost $1.82 billion in unpaid entitlements - with not one cent of help from the then Labor government. And since the Coalition established a safety net scheme in January 2000, the State Labor Governments have refused to contribute one dollar, reducing safety net payments to employees by 50%.

The Coalition has announced that it will increase the employee entitlements safety net even further to guarantee 100% of unpaid wages, annual leave, long service leave and pay in lieu of notice; plus 100% of the community redundancy standard (up to 8 weeks).

For more information contact Simone Holzapfel on 0417 656668 19 October 2001 ABB102/01