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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1995 Week 8 Hansard (26 October) . . Page.. 2104 ..

Labour Market Programs

MS TUCKER: My question is to the Minister for Employment and Minister for Industrial Relations, Mr De Domenico. In light of recent cuts to ACT Government labour market programs of in the order of over $2.7m, as outlined in the budget papers, how does the Minister believe that the Government can fulfil its commitment to provide a flexible range of services and programs to unemployed people, particularly young people and those who are not adequately provided for by Commonwealth services, as outlined in the budget papers?

MR DE DOMENICO: I thank Ms Tucker for her question. Ms Tucker does not talk about the fact that since March this year there have been 6,700 new jobs created in the ACT. Ms Tucker should compare that with the 700 jobs created in the previous year under the Follett Labor Government. So, since March, under a Liberal government, 6,700 new jobs have been created; in the previous year, only 700 new jobs were created. Ms Tucker, you will find that, with figures like that, this Government is on the right path to make sure that as many unemployed people and young people as possible will have an opportunity to get a real job.

In terms of the first question Ms Tucker asked, there have been no cutbacks. If you read your budget papers and budget estimates properly, you will find that this Government allocated the same amount of money as was going to be allocated by the former Government. So, when you talk about cutbacks, there have been no cutbacks in the amount of money that was going to be spent. Can I say that it is absolutely impossible for any government to fund every application that comes up. Can I alert Ms Tucker to the fact that the New South Wales Government - a Labor government - in its recent budget cut a total of $21m from jobs programs. Can I also alert Ms Tucker to the fact that last week, under a new Working Nation statement, Simon Crean allocated more money through the Federal Government, whose major responsibility it is to alleviate the unemployment situation.

Mr Connolly: So the Labor Party is picking up your mistakes.

MR DE DOMENICO: We welcome that fresh approach, Mr Connolly - by press release as well. Can I also say that this Territory Government, unlike any other State or Territory government, is doing more to create new jobs, especially in the private sector, than any other government has attempted to do. For payroll tax, there will be a $600,000 threshold from 1 January 1996, going up to an $800,000 threshold in 1997. There have been 6,700 new jobs created since March, in comparison to 700 the year before. I think that is a good record, Mr Speaker.

MS TUCKER: I ask a supplementary question. Mr De Domenico, I am well aware of the Commonwealth funding, but there is a view that that is not actually catering for long-term unemployed and youth. Do you have a breakdown of those jobs, and what proportion of those that you have already created is going to be useful to youth and long-term unemployed?

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