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Reform of Job Network must come from comprehensive and fully inclusive review.

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats

Employment Spokesperson


27 October 1998




Reform of Job Network must come from comprehensive and fully inclusive review


The Government has failed unemployed people and employment agencies in not ordering a full, comprehensive and open review of its disintegrating Job Network, said the Australian Democrats’ Employment Spokesperson, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja.


“The Government has been presented with a vital opportunity to fix the system before the second round of tendering begins. If Tony Abbott is serious about making Job Network work, he should order an immediate review, involving all stakeholders, and investigating every area of operation,” said Senator Stott Despoja.


“While it is important that the concerns of larger employment service providers be listened to and incorporated into any much-needed reforms the Government opts to make, other organisations should also be involved.


“Three days of meeting behind closed doors is not nearly enough to address the serious problems inherent in Job Network which, if not fixed, guarantee its slow death.


“Smaller agencies, welfare organisations representing unemployed people, and the Community and Public Services Union, representing Centrelink staff, are among the groups who should be included in any review of Job Network.


“It appears that Minister Abbott has the same attitude towards Job Network as his predecessor, Dr David Kemp — publicly maintaining that the system is working while refusing to release performance data, blaming problems on individual providers, and failing to implement necessary reforms.


“How many Ministers will the Government go through before it changes its attitude and develops a real commitment to providing a functioning employment services system?


“Faulty design and inadequate resourcing of Job Network has made it an embarrassing failure for the Government. As the new Minister, Tony Abbott has the opportunity to fix the problems, but he needs to admit they exist and must consult more widely to ensure they are fixed.


“Government assertions that the system is succeeding have gone on long enough and are fooling no-one. It is time to fix Job Network,” concluded Senator Stott Despoja.


For comment, contact Senator Stott Despoja on (08) 8232 7595