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Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Job seekers on benefits falls to 10-year low

The number of jobseekers receiving income support payments has fallen to a 10-year low, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, said today.

The Department of Family and Community Services today released figures which show that in September 2003 the number of jobseekers receiving either a Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance was 434,370, a decrease of 15,244 since August 2003.

Senator Patterson said: “Since September 2002, the number of jobseekers receiving income support payments have fallen by 31,498 people or 6.7%.

“In the past month, the number of long-term jobseekers has fallen by 7,161 people or 2.7%.

“The number of short-term jobseekers has decreased by 8,083 or 4.3%.

“These are the lowest levels in a decade.

“A reduction in the unemployment rate has resulted in this substantial decrease in jobseekers receiving benefits.”

Senator Patterson said record low unemployment had been achieved through the Howard Government’s responsible economic policies.

The Howard Government had reduced Labor’s $96.6 billion debt by $66.6 billion.

“The Howard Government has taken action to address the unemployment rate and since coming to office 1.2 million new jobs have been created,” Senator Patterson said.

“This is a far cry from the days of Labor when unemployment reached crisis levels. In the recession we had to have there were nearly one million Australians unemployed. The unemployment rate reached 10.7% under Labor. Today the unemployment rate is 5.8%.”