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Maharey The Chameleon Strikes Again

The Employment Minister’s endorsement today of Department of Work and Income Regional Commissioners and regional plans shows that he is up to his old tricks again, said ACT Employment Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman.

“Saying one thing in opposition, and doing another in government has become the hallmark of Steve Maharey. First it was with his Chief Executive, Christine Rankin, whom he attacked relentlessly in opposition, but then later described her as an outstanding public servant after their first meeting when he became Minister. Then it was with the Department itself, voting against its formation when in opposition, but claiming many of the ideas as his own, now that he is the Minister.

“To cap it all, Mr Maharey is claiming credit for Regional Commissioners and the regional plan concept, yet they have been in operation for three years.

“His latest u-turn, while typical, does have an ironic side to it. When WINZ was established, the Regional Commissioners were given control of the $25 million Community Employment Group funding. This gave them substantial flexibility for a regionally driven approach.

“Earlier this year, as one of his first moves, the Minister took the Community Employment Group and the funding out of the control of the Regional Commissioners, passing it back to the Labour Department. This move massively reduced the ability of the Regional Commissioners to fund local solutions to meet local needs.

“In a fashion that we have come to regard as typical, the Minister is now singing the praises of people who now have much less authority and power than before he intervened.

“By taking initiatives that are not his own and claiming that they are Mr Maharey has exposed himself as a Minister bereft of good ideas. Those who are unemployed and depend on the support of DWI to help them become work ready, deserve better,” Dr Newman said.


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