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Abbott shares responsibility for Job Network rorts.

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Cheryl Kernot - Abbott Shares Responsibility For Job Network Rorts Tuesday, 07 August 2001

Abbott Shares Responsibility For Job Network Rorts Cheryl Kernot - Shadow Minister for Employment and Training

Media Statement - 6 August 2001

Labor today accused the Minister for Employment, Tony Abbott, of presiding over a system which has led to 'cynical manipulation" and possible fraud in the Job Network.

Yesterday's Sunday Age reported that the Director of Public Prosecutions is considering laying charges against five individuals working for Job Network agencies over possibly fraudulent activities. It was also recently revealed that the Salvation Army's Job Network agency, Employment Plus, has been asked to repay $45,000 in falsely claimed payments.

Commenting on the possible fraud charges and other rorting in the Job Network, Cheryl Kernot, Shadow Minister for Employment and Training said today:

"It is the design of the system put in place by Tony Abbott, as well as the Government's refusal to respond to Labor's call for an independent Monitoring Authority, that has allowed this to occur in the Job Network.

"Minister Abbott was told by Labor, by community groups, and by Job Network agencies themselves, that the payment system was open to abuse, yet he recklessly pushed ahead with it in Job Network 2.

"It took Labor to uncover the questionable practices of Leonie Green and Associates and to force the Government to even admit there was a problem.

The Government's own report admits however that the problem is more widespread:

"…in the course of the Enquiry various practices used by Job Network members have come to attention." ●

The system is flawed because it rewards Job Network agencies for putting the unemployed into short term positions and for failing to train them for longer term sustainable jobs. This along with the lack of independent monitoring has resulted in many appearing to come up with fraudulent ways to put someone in a scam job.

"The recent OECD report on the Job Network said that it was performing at the same rate as Working Nation, but now it appears that many of the jobs that the unemployed have been placed into under the Job Network do not in fact, even exist. Authorised by Geoff Walsh, 19 National Circuit, Barton ACT 2600.

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