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Welfare reform: more jobless forced to chase less jobs.

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Australian Democrats Press Releases

Senator John Cherry Democrats Senator for Queensland Australian Democrats spokesperson for Employment & Employment Services

Dated: 11 May 2005

Press Release Number: 05/239

Portfolio: Employment & Employment Services

Welfare Reform: More Jobless Forced to Chase Less Jobs

The flaw in the Government's Welfare reform to push up to 190,000 parents of school age children and workers with a disability into the workforce, is revealed in the Budget forecast of slowing jobs growth and fewer job vacancies, the Australian Democrats say.

Democrats Employment spokesperson Senator John Cherry said people pushed off Parenting Payments and Disability Support Payments would find it harder than other job seekers to move into work, and would most likely join the queues of the long term unemployed.

"Despite a decade of growth, Australia has 560,000 officially unemployed and 1.2 million who want to work but fall outside the definition of unemployed," he said.

"In April, there were 1.7 million jobless competing for just 22,600 job vacancies, or 77 jobless for every vacancy. They included 88,300 people who are long term unemployed.

"It is all very good to say that parents of school age children and workers with a disability should look for part time work, but where are the jobs?

"The Budget forecasts show that employment growth will slow from 2.75% this year to 1.5% by June 2006. That represents around 130,000 fewer jobs created next year compared with this year.

"The only area of jobs growth in the Budget is in the Jobs Network and Centrelink with the $660 million in additional funding for compliance monitoring and job agency programs.

"That represents an additional 8000 or so staff in Job Network and Centrelink offices overseeing the thousands of people now forced to join the search for a declining number of job vacancies.

"The economics of the Government's welfare reforms simply don't add up.

"Why expand Work for the Dole when only 15% of participants end up with full time work? Why give what should be a public service function, breaching, to the private sector Job Network?

"This welfare package has major flaws in terms of accountability and delivery, but the biggest flaw by far is where are the jobs for parents and the disabled?" Senator Cherry concluded.