Labor’s green jobs promise is a huge lie
Here’s a quiz for your readers. How many green jobs did Kevin Rudd announce at the Labor Party Conference and how many of them were new?
Many readers of the Punch could be forgiven for thinking they heard the Prime Minister promise to deliver 50 000 new green jobs.
Unfortunately like so many of the Government’s announcements about a large array of job creation and training programmes it pays to read the fine print.
In Thursday’s announcement there were not 50 000 jobs as the Prime Minister implied and some media reported.
There were not 16 000 jobs as the Minister for Employment Participation claimed.
Rather than 50 000 jobs or 16 000 jobs, there were just 6 000 jobs and these were funded from the local jobs component of the Jobs Fund.
This is old news. The local jobs component of the Jobs Fund came about as the result of a negotiation between the Government and the Greens to support the 42 billion dollar stimulus package in the Senate.
It was negotiated in February. It was formally announced in April. It was in the Budget in May. The Government have already started announcing successful projects.
So in the set piece announcement by the Prime Minister at the Labor Conference there was not one new job.
It’s no wonder the Minister for Employment Participation, Senator Mark Arbib was so keen to overstate how many jobs would be created.
In his enthusiasm to spruik the Prime Minister’s announcement he claimed on several occasions that 10 000 places for long term unemployed youth to work in a Green Jobs Corps for six months would be jobs.
“Work Experience is a job” according to the Minister.
Work experience programmes such as Work for the Dole and Green Corps are designed to increase the employability of the unemployed. They are a pathway to a job, they help job seekers to become job-ready but they are not a job. Under the previous Government and under the Rudd Government, participants are still required to look for work.
As part of mutual obligation it is a requirement for jobseekers after a period of unemployment to undertake a mutual obligation activity such as work experience.
Unfortunately for the 1 ½ million Australians who are unemployed or underemployed, creating jobs is not as easy as adding the word Jobs to an existing programme.
Looked at one way all of this is a reflection of how low the Government are aiming in that they are planning for a large increase in long term unemployment for young Australians while telling them that they had greater choices about the jobs they want under the Liberals.
The Rudd Government announce a new job creation and training programme almost every month. The Minister for Employment Participation earlier this month put out a media release announcing the creation or retention of six jobs here and seven jobs there.
Both Kevin Rudd and Mark Arbib have now been caught out overclaiming on jobs.
This highlights the need for the Government to produce objective detailed analysis of all the job creation and training programmes they are funding to demonstrate which ones are providing value for money and which are not. Which ones are getting results and which are not.
When the economy begins to recovery, Australians will be left with 315 billion dollars of debt to pay back and the Government need to demonstrate what the actual rather than the claimed jobs dividend was.
Of the Prime Minister’s ’50,000 new green jobs’ there were only 6000 jobs and none of them new. If you didn’t get the right answer on the quiz don’t feel too bad. You’re in good company. The Minister in charge of delivering on these claims didn’t know either.
Andrew Southcott is Shadow Minister for Employment Participation, Training and Sport.
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