Page 4532 - Week 14 - Wednesday, 23 November 2005

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effective marginal tax rates are a disincentive. I would encourage the government to look at those, but the work done by Minister Andrews and Minister Dutton is good work that should be supported. We should not have any view that this is draconian.

MR SPEAKER: The member’s time has expired.

MS GALLAGHER (Molonglo—Minister for Education and Training, Minister for Children, Youth and Family Support, Minister for Women and Minister for Industrial Relations) (4.19): I thank Ms Porter for bringing this motion to the Assembly. It is an important one and I think it is very important that we discuss this prior to the legislation coming into effect, as we continue to lobby against the legislation and lobby for amendments to make it fairer, if at all possible. I have listened to Mrs Burke and Mrs Dunne. Mrs Burke’s speech contains the usual number of cliches. She has obviously read the propaganda, but there is absolutely no critical analysis of the work and the dialogue that has been going on since this legislation was put on the table.

As an individual, I do not necessarily accept that everybody is better off in a job than receiving some kind of welfare support. I think it depends on the type of job, how it impacts on the family and the opportunities for the individual. I do not necessarily swallow that. The line is constantly run that “You are better off in a job.” It is used as a way of saying, “We need to reduce welfare support.” It is not, “We will continue with a strong welfare support system and create opportunities and jobs for people”—it is, “You are better off in a job, and off welfare.”

I am not convinced that that is necessarily the case for all families that require the social security safety net. They are the people we are concerned about in relation to this proposal. It is the people at that most vulnerable edge for whom there is a punitive mechanism being put in place to shift people off social security support and into a job. It is not about choice; it is not about training; it is not about opportunity. It is a case of, “This is what has to happen or you will lose your income support, and you will be penalised.” That is what the legislation being proposed says to families who are in need of support from the states and from the system. There is no choice in this proposal. It is not about creating opportunities or anything like that. It does not talk about training. In the recent training agreement there was no new money to support vulnerable groups within our community to receive training that would put them in a better position.

Mrs Burke: But other states and territories have to put the money in, Katy. Meet your obligation.

MS GALLAGHER: We have put millions of dollars into the training system—

Mrs Burke: What are we seeing for it?

MS GALLAGHER: and that has not been matched by the commonwealth.

Mrs Burke: Let’s blame someone!

MS GALLAGHER: Mrs Burke can sit there and spout stuff she has no idea about. We have put millions into the training system here that has not been matched by the commonwealth. There has been no new money to take a vulnerable group who may be in

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