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Senate to investigate Employment Services contract process

The Senate today moved to establish an inquiry into the Government's handling of awarding employment services contracts.

"The Greens and Coalition Senators today referred this issue to a Senate Inquiry to review the decision making processes, and the outcomes of the tender process. The key questions are whether Australia's employment services will be better or worse as a result of this process and most importantly will those Australians without a job be supported as they need to be," said Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert.

"There appears to have been no rhyme or reason on which providers did and didn't get contracts - with many high quality providers missing out. The process seems to be merely change for changes sake."

"Thousands of jobs will be lost in the change, and with these people go skills and experience vital at this time of rising unemployment," said Senator Siewert.

"Those charities that provide employment services will be hit hard by the changes to the sector. Those organisations that provide wrap around services, extending further into the community than profit-driven ventures, are particularly at risk."

"The Rudd Government makes a lot of noise about the importance of social inclusion - yet their handling of the employment services contract process just insults the good work of many not-for-profit organisations that provide specialist employment services, right at the time when unemployment is expected to go through the roof."

"I am hopeful that this Senate Inquiry will shine the spotlight on the handling of the contract process, and show the way forward for a government that clearly doesn't understand the sector," she concluded.

For more information or media enquiries please call Tim Norton on 0418 401 180

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