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Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1996 Week 7 Hansard (18 June) . . Page.. 1846 ..

Education - Voluntary Parent Contribution Scheme

MS McRAE (4.52): I simply want to put on record that we agree to Mr Stefaniak postponing that report. There was no formal mechanism for Mr Stefaniak to move a motion; he simply wanted to inform the Assembly. Given that that is the situation, I will put on record that we do agree to Mr Stefaniak delaying his report until Tuesday.


MR DE DOMENICO (Minister for Urban Services and Minister for Business, Employment and Tourism) (4.53), in reply: It gives me pleasure to report to the Assembly that Jobline - Mr Whitecross spoke about this before but is not here now - has decided today to accept an assistance package the Government offered the agency at yesterday's meeting. Several weeks ago the Government advised Jobline that its funding for this year could not be continued. After much frustration from Jobline with that decision, and, might I say, some public procrastinations as well, the Government arranged a further meeting with the employment agency which was held yesterday. An assistance package comprising $20,000 was put to Jobline at that meeting, to enable Jobline to develop a business plan and explore options for becoming self-supporting rather than reliant on annual government grants.

The offer made to Jobline involves a three-stage assistance package: Firstly, $5,000 for the development of a five-year business plan that would look at funding options from both commercial channels and government assistance; and, secondly, funding of $15,000 to enable Jobline to continue operating while an independent review of its operations is conducted. The review would cover the last three years of Jobline's business operation, with a view to establishing both the effectiveness of the Jobline program to the ACT community and its long-term business viability. Finally, it involves assistance to the Jobline board of management through the appointment of people with business expertise to oversee the ongoing functions of Jobline.

The Government made it quite clear to Jobline last year that it had to look beyond current funding arrangements to ensure the agency's long-term survival. I am pleased that conciliation has successfully resulted in Jobline accepting the Government's offer of assistance, and I am confident that it will be able to continue its important work in the community - that of serving the needs of Canberra's unemployed. It would have been irresponsible for the Government not to take this approach, because there are many other organisations all doing a fine job in trying to place people into employment, and they are not recipients of government assistance. I can see that Jobline will continue to grow and prosper and be self-supporting, which is what it should be, and I am delighted that it has accepted the Government's offer.

Question resolved in the affirmative.

Assembly adjourned at 4.53 pm

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