Legislative Assembly for the ACT: 1998 Week 1 Hansard (30 April) . . Page.. 226 ..
MR HIRD: Mr Stanhope, the Leader of the Opposition, has been hit by a bolt of lightning on jobs.
MR SPEAKER: Ask your question, Mr Hird.
MR HIRD: My question is to the Chief Minister and it is on jobs. Can the Chief Minister advise the parliament whether the Government's Youth1000 employment program reached its target of 1,000 jobs - 1,000 jobs, Mr Stanhope - for young Canberrans before Easter this year? I also ask: How many businesses participated in this scheme?
MS CARNELL: Mr Speaker, all of those people who were in the last Assembly - of course, quite a number of the ones opposite were not - would remember very definitely how this scheme was actually opposed by those opposite, was run down, was said to be not up to scratch. Mr Speaker, in August of last year the Government announced, as we know, that it would undertake what, I have to say, was a bold new employment program in partnership with the CES and the private sector. The program, known as Youth500, aimed to place 500 young Canberrans under the age of 21 in jobs by Christmas.
The reason I say "bold", Mr Speaker, is that it is always tough to set targets like that, because we know that if it had been 490 Mr Stanhope would have said, "Shock, horror! Your figures were wrong, Chief Minister". The fact that 490 people got jobs would not have mattered, Mr Speaker. So, it was a bold initiative. Following the outstanding success in achieving the 500 target, we decided to take another risk and expand the program to Youth1000. That risk was well worth taking because, I have to say, the scheme is now widely regarded as the most successful employment initiative carried out since self-government - and it is regarded as such not just by the Government, but by all of the people involved.
Mr Speaker, I would like to confirm that earlier this month the target of 1,000 jobs was reached. For the record, the 1,000th person was Noel Alchin, who was employed by Terry Pulford Smash Repairs in Fyshwick in the week before Christmas. So, in just 35 weeks an average of 30 placements a week was achieved and 1,000 teenagers were able to access new employment, training and apprenticeship opportunities. This is a program that those opposite opposed. Mr Speaker, I think the fascinating part about this was that almost 40 per cent of those placements were of young people who had been unemployed for six months or more - 40 per cent of the 1,000 had been unemployed for six months or more. Also, I am sure those opposite will be very interested to know, 337 apprenticeships and 444 traineeships were created under Youth1000. In other words, almost 80 per cent of the placements were in long-term training positions.
Mr Speaker, I want to use this opportunity to give credit to a number of the people who took part in the program, and to the people who actually came up with the idea. This idea did not come from government. It came as a result of a youth employment symposium that was put together by the non-government sector more than 12 months ago. It came in response to a challenge that I issued at that conference in asking the government and community sectors to come up with, I suppose, an approach to address the issue of