Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
A government that will not generate jobs.

Download WordDownload Word






Member for Batman



May 13,1998




The Howard Government’s decision to ignore Australia’s unemployment crisis for three consecutive Budgets shows very clearly that they have no ambition to create a real future that works for Australia’s jobless, Martin Ferguson, the Shadow Minister for Employment, Training, Population and Immigration


Labor, by contrast, wants to rebuild and re-energise the Australian nation,” Mr Ferguson said.


Labor aims to cut unemployment to 5 per cent, as a first step towards achieving full employment.


“Labor is committed to investing in job creation in regions of high unemployment. Labor has ambition for Australia and wants to create a future that works.


“The third Howard / Costello Budget shows that this Government isn’t even trying to generate the jobs this nation needs.


“They have had three chances to do something positive. Three strikes and they are clearly out of ideas and should be voted out of office.


“For the third year in a row the Howard/Costello Government has brought down a Budget which does not even try to generate jobs or to tackle Australia’s biggest economic and social problem — unemployment.


“The Government’s own forecasts are that the unemployment rate will rise above 8 per cent again in the next few months and be stuck at 8 per cent on average over the next twelve months.


“The Budget forecasts that economic growth will slump sharply to 3 per cent in each of the next two years, well below the 4 per cent levels (which this Government has never achieved) needed to get unemployment down.


“The forecast of 1.75 per cent employment growth for the year is even less than the original forecast of 2 per cent in last year’s Budget, which itself had to be reduced sharply mid year to l.25 per cent.


“The Government is aiming for less than half the employment growth which Labor was generating in Government.


“The Government expects no improvement in the low participation rate which Australia has fallen into since it took office, which reflects people’s loss of hope of finding work.


“The Government also predicts that the total number of unemployment benefit recipients will increase by 5 per cent from the beginning of the September quarter 1998.


“The Government has already sent youth unemployment rising from 26.4 per cent to 27.1 per cent.


“It has already driven up the number of long-term unemployed people in Australia by 26 800. “Now it has announced further measures which will worsen these trends.


Last night it announced that $147.6 million less will be spent in the next four years in helping unemployed people find jobs.


“The Budget Papers indicate that 9 000 more Public Service jobs will go next year, bringing the number of jobs directly abolished by this Government to at least 35 000.


“No new measures to tackle unemployment were announced last night.


“The claimed announcement of “an additional $350 million over four years for a range of measures to addr ess problems associated with youth unemployment” was in fact all announced back in January.


“Net new spending on jobs programs represents less than one fifth of what has cumulatively been taken out of jobs programs by this Government, still leaving a $1.5 billion gap in investment to get unemployed Australians into work.


There has been no initiative to help displaced mature age workers obtain new skills and adapt to new jobs.


“They remain forgotten.


“This Government has again demonstrated that it has no ambition to cut unemployment or to tackle the huge concentrations of jobless in particular towns, suburbs and regions across the nation.


“Apprenticeship commencements have already fallen by 5 000 since Labor’s last full year of office.


“Instead of rebuilding decent apprenticeship opportunities and generating real jobs for our young unemployed, the Government just wants to make more Australians, including now many older Australians, work for the dole and then remain on the dole.


For further info/interviews: Andrew Casey, Martin Ferguson’s office 02 6277 4899