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Government abandons homeless kids over Christmas.



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Nicola Roxon MP Shadow Minister for Children and Youth

Anthony Albanese MP Shadow Minister for Employment Services and Training

Government abandons homeless kids over Christmas

M E D I A R E L E A S E M

E D I A R E L E A S E

Thousands of young homeless Australians have been given an uncertain future for Christmas as the Government has failed to guarantee funding to the support services they have been relying on.

At the end of October this year the Government wrote to over 70 JPET Service providers informing them that they would have to cease supporting disadvantaged, vulnerable young people as of December 31st this year.

In the letter to the services the Government stated that the organisations had not been successful in the Government’s tender selection process and that they would no longer receive funding to support young homeless people find work or return to education or training.

When services across the country raised concerns about the forced closures and the impact on young homeless people the Prime Minister’s office realised that they had a public relations disaster on their hands - exactly what they didn’t need before the Victorian and NSW State election.

The Prime Minister pressured his Minister Larry Anthony to delay the closures until the end of March 2003. M E D I A R E L E A S E

The Minister promised to release the outcome of the review before Christmas. With a little over a week to go thousands of homeless young people are waiting on the Government’s decision that will decide their fate.

The Minister has refused to ensure that not one user of JPET services will be worse off. He has refused to state that there won’t be a reduction of services and that people won’t be losing their jobs.

The Minister could talk to any number of the service providers and their clients, whom he has happily put under the guillotine, to appreciate the distress and pain he is causing. We have been informed that people employed under the JPET program are looking for new employment due to the feeling of uncertainty created by the mishandling of the 2002 JPET funding process. People employed in this vital program are worried about their jobs.

With only 2 months to go until the results of the review are known, staff at JPET providers across the country have been searching the employment pages for themselves instead of their clients, hoping to find employment in other areas where they can help young Australians.

“I have even been told of one executive officer at a JPET provider having to move interstate because of the lack of certainty in her employment.” Said Ms Roxon.

“The Government should be red-faced about its incompetence that has left youth workers unsure whether or not they will have a job in the new year - and the young people that need their help at risk of losing experienced and committed advisers.”

17 December 2002

For more information call: Nicola Roxon or Matt Nurse on (03) 9687 7355 or 0417 386 535 Or Anthony Albanese on 0419 777 597

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