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Greens call for moratorium on penalties to job-seekers

The Australian Greens today called for a moratorium on participation breaches for the estimated 320,000 job-seekers nationally affected by the change-over in employment services starting today, 1 July 2009.

"The Government has made a serious error in the level of disruption to job-seekers caused by the huge turnover of providers in its Employment Services tender," Senator for WA Rachel Siewert said.

"Those unfortunate Australians looking for work who have been caught up in the middle should not be penalised simply because agencies are shutting down and many new providers are struggling to open their doors and establish new services.

"For this reason, we're calling on the Rudd Government to offer a moratorium to its breaching regime for job-seekers and for it to show some sympathy and understanding of the impacts when long-running services are shut down and job seekers are left confused due to poor communications," Senator Siewert said.

"With an around 38 per cent of job-seekers expected to be transferring to new providers, and estimates made to a recent Senate Inquiry suggesting it could take three to six months for the new services to get established and running effectively, we need to show a bit of flexibility.

"At a time of rising unemployment and financial uncertainty, those already on the unemployment queues face rising financial stress and diminished work prospects.

"We need to be making sure that our employment services system can adapt to meet these challenges," Senator Siewert concluded.

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