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Government still silent on employment services funding

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 11 Sep 2007

The Government has cut funding to community legal centres helping people confused by its red tape of Work Choices.

"It is clear that the Government is not interested in providing assistance to people to help them understand these laws and wants to cut access to independent advice.

When Senator Siewert cross-examined the Office of the Employment Advocate (now operating under the Workplace Ombudsman and the Workplace Authority) in May 2007 they were unable to justify the funding cuts to CLCs.

"The Government claimed that they could provide the advice for better value for money, yet they have done no assessment of what value for money they provide and they continue to refer people to CLCs," said Senator Siewert.

"The Government is still yet to answer direct questions about why they had cut funding to community legal centres (CLCs) for providing workplace advice," said Senator Rachel Siewert today.

In a statement issued today, the Employment Law Centre of WA said "at the same time that our workload grew as a result of WorkChoices, the Federal Government took our funding away. Now with more and more referrals by Federal agencies, and increasing demand on our service, deserving cases are not being progressed, injustices are not being remedied and employees' entitlements are not pursued."

"The Government seems to have two completely differing standards for employers and employees. Employer Advisory Programmes received more than $20 million in both 2006 and 2007, whilst those community programs that exist to serve the employees have received no funding after the Community Partners Programme was dismantled in November 2006," Senator Siewert said.

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