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Job news good: for now.

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats

Employment Spokesperson


11 March 1999


Job news good — for now


The Government must not use one month’s good employment news as an excuse for failing to take re al action to secure Australia’s long-term economic growth, said the Australian Democrats’ Employment Spokesperson, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja.


“The February ABS labour force figures record a slight fall in unemployment, with 7,400 people finding work. However, the Government must recognise that more needs to be done to create long-term and sustainable employment growth for the 696,500 Australians still looking for a job, said Senator Stott Despoja.


“Despite Government claims of having ‘fireproofed’ the economy, the $8 billion current account deficit, the fall in business investment and our reliance on a consumption boom leave us vulnerable to future high unemployment.


“The Department of Employment leading employment indicator, released yesterday, fell for the eight consecutive month in January, revealing a more negative outlook for employment over future months.


“The Government must not go down the low-wage, low-skilled path the Minister for Employment has mapped out. Australians do not want to be paid $5 per hour for insecure work and poor conditions.


Senator Stott Despoja also warned against misrepresenting the slight fall in youth unemployment figures.


“This drop in youth unemployment can be attributed to the sharp increase in the numbers of young people attending school or a tertiary institution,” she said.


“Furthermore, young people not enrolled in full-time education or training are no longer eligible for income support. The harsh policy of forcing young people to go back to their families for support, or back to school to get the Youth Allowance is also a cause of the drop in youth unemployment, not real job creation, which should be the top priority.


“The Government must make a commitment to investing in new, sustainable industries and providing appropriate education, training and employment opportunities to the hundreds of thousands of Australians not fortunate enough to have a full-time job”, concluded Senator Stott Despoja.


For comment, contact Senator Stott Despoja on (02) 6277 3645 or 0418 812 589