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Senate inquiry to examine regional development

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The Senate Employment, Workplace Relations, Small Business and Education References Committee, chaired by Victorian Senator Jacinta Collins, will conclude its inquiry into Regional Unemployment with a public hearing in Canberra this week.

The Committee has held hearings in 21 regional centres in all states through the course of this year and has found many regions struggling to cope with unprecedented changes in the Australian and global economies. The Australian labour market has changed significantly in the last fifteen years. In many regional areas, including regional areas of capital cities, Government offices and banks have closed, industries have gone, and there is lack of investment.

There have also been major changes to Government programs. The impact of these changes on employment and unemployment has not occurred uniformly across the country. Many regional industrial centres, rural towns and specific regions within capital cities have been particularly affected.

In its hearings around the country the Committee has heard evidence on numerous local issues and clear, common patterns and needs have emerged. These include the withdrawal of services and infrastructure, the lack of education and training opportunities, the social impact of regional unemployment and the need for investment in regional development.

The Committee will be holding hearings in Committee Room 2S3 in Parliament House on Friday, 18 December. It will hear from Commonwealth agencies and a range of individuals and interest groups. Matters to be examined include possible directions in Government policy on regional issues and labour market programs, and capital and infrastructure investment in the regions.

A program of the hearing, which is open to the public, is attached. Further information can be obtained from the Secretary Mr John Carter:

Telephone: 02 6277 3520 Fax: 02 62775706

16 December 1998