Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Number of Jobseekers in November at 12-year low

The number of people receiving unemployment benefits is at the lowest level in 12 years, the Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, said today.

According to the latest labour market and related payments figures released today by the Department of Family and Community Services, there were 597,181 unemployed clients in November – a fall of 5.4 per cent or 34,043 from November 2002.

“This is the lowest number of unemployed clients for more than a decade,” Senator Patterson said.

“The latest figures represent the lowest number of unemployed clients receiving Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance since March 1991.

“The number of long-term unemployed clients in November was 359,128, the lowest level since 1996 when the Howard Government rescued Australians from the failed Working Nation policy of the Keating government.

“It was a cruel policy that gave the unemployed false hope while disguising the true state of unemployment in Australia.

“The current low unemployment rate has been achieved through the Howard Government’s good economic management, which has delivered low interest rates,” she said.

“The Howard Government has created nearly 1.3 million jobs, delivered inflation below three per cent and interest rates at levels unimaginable under Labor.

“Today’s drop in the number of Australians on unemployment benefits reflects the strong support from the Howard Government to assist the unemployed back into the workforce.

“This is a long way from the days of Labor when unemployment reached crisis levels. In the recession we had to have there were nearly one million Australians unemployed.”