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Social inclusion in Tasmania.

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Deputy Labor Leader Shadow Minister for Social Inclusion


Federal Labor Candidate for Bass


Deputy Labor Leader and Shadow Minister for Social Inclusion Julia Gillard today outlined Labor's plans to help disadvantaged communities help themselves.

Joining Jodie Campbell, Labor candidate for Bass in Launceston today, Ms Gillard said every Australian must be given the opportunity to participate fully in daily economic and social life.

"Many Australians are currently doing well as a result of the resources boom. But after 11 long years of Howard Government neglect, too many people have been left on the margins of society," Ms Gillard said.

"According to a recent ACOSS report, using the OECD poverty line standard of 50 per cent of median income, 2004 data tells us 9.9 per cent of Australians, or around 2 million children, women and men live below the poverty line.

"This is unacceptable, and that's why a Rudd Labor Government will implement our Social Inclusion agenda to ensure more Australians get a fair go.

"A Rudd Labor Government would establish a new Social Inclusion Unit to ensure ministers, their departments and service providers better coordinate policy development.

"And to ensure policies are matched to local needs, we will also create a national Social Inclusion Board made up of community champions to provide the Government with advice on what communities need most.

"The Howard Government has lost touch with Australians doing it tough.”

If elected, a Rudd Labor Government will take a whole of government approach, as well as practical steps, to ensure we target much needed resources at the right places.

This will include practical measures such as ensuring the Australian Bureau of Statistics gathers new information on local areas of disadvantage.

Ms Gillard said a Rudd Labor Government would forge new partnerships to tackle disadvantage.

"We will work across all levels of government, and with the business and non-profit sectors to develop matched funding pools.

"These funding pools will help non-government organisations better address the multiple causes of social and economic exclusion within targeted disadvantaged communities.”

Ms Campbell said Labor's plan would provide further encouragement to the many Tasmanians already working hard to improve their skills.

"Today Julia and I have met some inspirational Tasmanians who are working very hard, as students and as trainers, to develop improved skills in our community," she said.

"Those we met today are getting in and having a go, and as a result will be able to live full and productive lives and make a greater contribution to our society as a whole.

"I am proud that a Rudd Labor Government will take practical steps to help people who are so willing to work hard," Ms Campbell said.