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$850 job seeker account no service guarantee.



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MEDIA RELEASE David Cox MP Shadow Minister for Employment Services and Training Contact: David Cox Ph: 02 6277 4118 or 0418 847 830

$850 JOB SEEKER ACCOUNT NO SERVICE GUARANTEE

The Government’s $850 job seeker account is totally inadequate to address the real needs of the most disadvantaged unemployed and is therefore insufficient to underwrite the Howard Government’s service guarantee.

The Budget has failed to address the shortcomings in the Government’s labour market programs exposed by the Productivity Commission and more radical surgery is required.

The Productivity Commission inquiry revealed that the most disadvantaged job seekers are being “parked” in Intensive Assistance and only given the “pretence” of assistance by Job Network providers who instead concentrate their efforts placing the job ready to get lucrative outcome payments.

Under current arrangements assistance to job seekers should be funded out of the $9000 of commencement and outcome payments paid to Job Network providers.

Job seeker accounts recognise the incentive structure in Job Network contracts is failing to deliver even a minimal level of assistance to disadvantaged job seekers.

There is no new money in the budget to fund the job seeker accounts. On the contrary funding to the Job Network will be cut by more than $64 million over the next 4 years. These cuts are being made when there is increasing pressure on the Job Network system with:

• Disability support pensioners being transferred to Newstart; • An increasing proportion of the unemployed out of work for more than 12 months; and, • When there are already 37,000 long term unemployed job seekers who

have not been referred for Intensive Assistance.

This inadequate response means the Government has created a flawed system and is protecting the interests of the system ahead of the interests of job seekers.

Canberra 15 May 2002 For comment and interviews phone David Cox on 0418 847 830