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Maharey: Encouraging Real Jobs? Or Real Rorts?

Sunday 21 Oct 2001

One of the community organisations involved in Steve Maharey's 'flagship' employment programme received $30,000 of taxpayers' money in return for targeting the creation of just one job, ACT Employment Spokesman Dr Muriel Newman revealed today.

"Answers to my written Parliamentary questions show that an organisation called the Ross Community Society Inc. was the fortunate recipient of this money - based on the expectation of creating one job in the past year, under the auspices of the Employment Minister's Community Employment Organisations scheme.

"That $30,000 represents the amount of tax somebody on the average wage would pay over a four year period. This demonstrates the wastefulness and idiocy of Mr Maharey's 'flagship'.

"We don't even know if the Ross Community Society Inc. actually achieved its lofty aim, because Associate Employment Minister Ruth Dyson has yet to answer my question about which organisations actually created jobs in the past year.

"Ms Dyson's excuse for not answering the question that 'it has not been possible to obtain the information required' in the time available is extraordinary, given that the whole scheme created just 54 taxpayer subsidised jobs in the past year - against Mr Maharey's expectation of 1000. I would have thought a simple head count could be achieved in five minutes flat.

"Mr Maharey has dished out thousands and thousands of taxpayer dollars to these community organisations without it seems establishing with them any clear targets - or accountability for how our money is spent.

"Mr Maharey talks grandly about creating 'real jobs' when in reality he, as an academic ideologue, hasn't a clue how to do it. He has squandered $1.5 million of taxpayers' money on this grandiose scheme - all for the sake of 54 jobs.

"ACT is committed to putting emphasis on engaging the long term unemployed in 40 hour-a-week job seeking and training schemes. Unless there are Government-led changes which genuinely assist those who have difficulty finding a place in the workforce, then we as country will continue to see long-term unemployed numbers rise with all the associated social problems that brings," Dr Newman said.


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