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long-term unemployed, once having attained a job, to stay in that employment for a longer period. New South Wales now does not have this exemption, and we are hoping that in some small way implementation of this initiative will place ACT employers at an advantage over New South Wales and provide further impetus for expansion of the employment base in the ACT.

I believe, like all members of this Assembly, that this is only a very small step towards doing something about the plight of the long-term unemployed in our society. We believe that a lot more has to be done, and we will be working to that end to stimulate business in the ACT, to give them other reasons, as well as this, to increase their employment base and to be able to employ more of the long-term unemployed, particularly the unemployed young people in our community.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Bill agreed to in principle.

Detail Stage

Bill, by leave, taken as a whole

MS FOLLETT (Leader of the Opposition) (5.16), by leave: I move:

Page 2, lines 17 to 19, clause 4, proposed new paragraph 9(5)(b), omit the proposed new paragraph.

Page 2, line 22, clause 4, proposed new subsection 9(5), omit all words after “registered” (last occurring).

As I said in my earlier speech, the purpose of my amendments is to extend the benefit of this payroll tax reform to include people who are not in receipt of social security benefits but who have been unemployed for over 12 months. It is a fact that there are many people in our community who have been unemployed for long periods but who have never received a dollar in dole. That is predominantly married women, I must say, but also a large number of younger people. I recall that when we were in government I initiated a range of programs aimed at both mature married women and young people, trying to get both of those groups into or back into the paid work force. I know that it does take quite an effort for those particular groups to break into a competitive labour market. I believe that, if we could extend the eligibility for this payroll tax exemption so that those groups of people were also eligible to take part in the scheme, we might be addressing a problem that is largely hidden in our community but is nevertheless a quite large problem and a very real problem. I commend the amendments to members. I think that they will probably be of greater benefit than the initial reform, if they are passed by the Assembly.

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