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Job Network puts people last.

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats

Employment Spokesperson


20 July 1998


Job Network puts people last


The imminent closure of People 1 st , a Sydney job agency with 10 years experience in helping the unemployed, is further evidence of the failings in the Government’s privatised employment market, Job Network, said the Democrats’ Spokesperson on Employment, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja.


“The Government has been warned by all sectors of the community that its unfair tendering process would disadvantage smaller providers and that many would be forced to close,” said Senator Stott Despoja.


“Many organisations were already starting from a position of disadvantage, with the most lucrative contracts going to the largest providers, including the Government-owned Employment National.


“With Centrelink struggling to make anywhere near the promised number of referrals, many agencies face closure within the year, unless the Government intervenes and reviews the system and the allocation of contracts.


“Given that the creation of this privatised market represents the largest tendering out of Government services ever, it is amazing that an ongoing process of review was not incorporated into the reform.


“This inflexibility on the part of the Government, and its refusal to admit to any problems, displays a breathtaking arrogance and disregard for the effect the flawed system is having on jobseekers and agencies.


“Since its commencement, Job Network has been characterised by chaos, at all levels of its operation. Yet, the Government will not admit anything is wrong or fix the problems.


“Struggling agencies and jobseekers cannot afford to wait until December for a review. The Government should have had the foresight to recognise that the system would require ongoing assessment and reform. Now that agencies are being forced to close, it should at least have the sense to look at what has gone wrong in the system, and fix it,” concluded Senator Stott Despoja.


For comment contact Senator Stott Despoja on (08) 8232 7595 or 0418 812 589