Low unemployment should pave way for training places: CSSA

Welcoming the latest unemployment figures, Catholic Social Services director Frank Quinlan called on the Government to act on its promise to fund more training places for those who remain unemployed.

Commenting on yesterday's Australian Bureau of Statistics employment figures which showed the nation's unemployment rate was steady at 4.9 per cent in June on the back of a surge of 52,000 new jobs, Mr Quinlan said many Australians still experience serious barriers to employment.

He said there was still an urgent need to invest more in skills and training, especially for young people, people with a disability and sole parents.

"[The] figures provide the opportunity for the Government to release additional funds to help some of the country's most marginalised people prepare for meaningful, long term work," Mr Quinlan said.

"Investment in skills, training and support will help many of these people overcome the difficulties and be more competitive in the labour market. It will also go a long way to meeting the needs of employers who are finding it hard to fill jobs because of a skilled labour shortage."

Treasurer Peter Costello said yesterday that the figures would make the Government more ambitious about reducing Australia's unemployment rate even further, although he drew the line at it reaching below four per cent.

"I don't think there is a country in the developed world that has got unemployment down to three, or something with a three in front of it," he said. "Let's keep it here, and let's see if we can get it to go lower."

In reducing the unemployment rate, Mr Quinlan has suggested the creation of more places through existing unemployment support programs like the Personal Support Program (PSP), Job Placement Employment and Training and Disability Open Employment Service.

"Over 7,500 people are on waiting lists for PSP alone. These lists are up to 12 months in some areas of Australia. Many of these people have a mental illness and many are homeless," he said.

"The Government promised an additional 8,000 PSP places over five years in the 2006 Budget. These places should be released now to provide urgently needed help."

Mr Quinlan also called on the Government to take a stronger position in support of people "who contribute so much to society through unpaid work."

Catholic Social Services Media Release (13/7/06)

LINKS (not necessarily endorsed by Church Resources)
Catholic Social Services

Catholic Social Services welcomes falling unemployment (CathNews 26/5/06)

14 Jul 2006