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Unemployment fall welcome, but where's the long term strategy.

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Media Release


Lindsay Tanner MP

Acting Shadow Treasurer and Minister for Employment, and Shadow

Minister for Finance and Consumer Affairs


11 November 1999


Unemployment fall welcome, but where’s the long term strategy?


“Today’s fall in unemployment is welcome, but it sharpens the focus on the need for a coherent strategy to sustainably reduce unemployment,” Acting Shadow Employment Minister, Lindsay Tanner, said.


Indeed, the Australian Bureau of Statistics noted that the trend unemployment rate had not moved and that the rate of decline in trend unemployment was “continuing to slow”.


“The Government’s lack of a coherent strategy is manifest in its slower employment growth since it came to power compared with Labor’s last three years —an average of 12,500 jobs a month under John Howard compared to an average of over 20,000 jobs a month in Labor’s last three years,” Mr Tanner said.


“Without a roadmap to employment, the Government is stumbling about in the dark on how to sustainably reduce unemployment. John Howard and with his prime ‘wrecker’, Peter Reith, have increased workplace insecurity, had slower jobs growth, and attacked employability at a time when skills are critical to the welfare of Australians,” said Mr Tanner.


“The fact that more and more Australians are missing out on the benefits of economic growth is most stark in the labour market, with many regions in Australia continuing to miss out on jobs growth. So not only is economic growth in Australia increasingly becoming unbalanced with rising consumption, falling investment and rising debt, but the benefits are also not being shared among Australians,” said Mr Tanner.


“Mr Reith’s preferred solution to reducing unemployment, as outlined in his secret letter to John Howard in November 1998, is to cut the wages and conditions of Australian workers and their families and then also cut their social security. On top of that, he wants to slug Australian families with the GST — a tax which is already raising prices and interest rates.


“Cutting funds to education, skills, and training is exactly the opposite of what we need to equip Australians for the future, yet this is exactly what this Government has done”, said Mr Tanner pointing to John Howard’s cuts in education and training and Dr Kemp’s proposals to gut HECS and impose higher fees on learning.


“Without investing in people, skills, and ideas, the economy runs the risk of facing skills shortages and an ever tightening labour market,” warned Mr Tanner.


Further information:

Lindsay Tanner (03) 9347 5000 or

Pradeep Philip (02) 6277 4045 (w) or (0416) 214 760



rw  1999-11-15  10:59