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ABS figures reveal Australia spirals downwards to low-pay jobs.

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Media release by…

Jenny MacklinMP


Startling new figures reveal the Howard Government is pushing Australians into low-pay, low-skill jobs instead of helping them move into better paying, high-value jobs for the future, Jenny Macklin said today.

“Over the last three years, the Howard Government has created a truly pathetic grand total of 600 new middle-income jobs, compared to 462,000 low-pay jobs. This means a dearth of opportunities for people to move out of low-pay jobs and into higher paid positions, as well as too few job options for middle Australians who should be earning between $36,000 and $74,000 a year.

“The Howard Government is turning Australia into an employment backwater,” said Ms Macklin.

“The make-up of these latest job growth figures is indefensible. Almost nine out every ten jobs created in the last three years are in low-yield, low-skill areas that pay less than the average wage.”

Figures released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics yesterday reveal that 87 per cent of all net job growth for employees in the past three years was in jobs paying less than the average wage. The remaining job growth since 1998 has been in jobs that pay at least twice the average wage. Only 0.1 percent of job growth since 1998 has been in middle-income jobs.

“If our objective is to create a high-skill, high-wage society then job growth should have been predominantly in the middle-income jobs, with some growth in the higher-income bracket and the least growth in the low-income bracket - not the other way round.”

Ms Macklin said the Howard Government should be creating new middle-income jobs for people to move into - not pushing even more Australians into low-pay, low-value positions.

Ms Macklin said that the latest job growth figures should jolt the Howard Government into action. She said that the Government should immediately start investing in education, skills and employment to start generating smarter, high-value jobs for Australians, or Australia would struggle to compete in the global knowledge-based economy and standards of living would drop.

“Australia is on a downward spiral to a low-pay, low-value employment market. The Government needs to reverse this trend as a matter of urgency.”

More information: Jenny Macklin 0419 593 622; Joanna Brent 0408 473 278

1 March 2002

Deputy Leader of the Opposition Deputy Leader of the Opposition Deputy Leader of the Opposition Deputy Leader of the Opposition

Shadow Minister for Employment, Education, Training & Science

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