ACT Council of Social Service Inc.

Justice | Equity | Social Inclusion | Reconciliation

Media release: Canberra community needs support to cope with significant job losses

30 August 2013

The ACT Council of Social Service called today for candidates from the major parties to state whether the Canberra community will receive assistance to cope with projected job losses of between 5,000-12,000 workers over the coming three years. 

Director of the ACT Council of Social Service Susan Helyar said today “Federal Governments have provided transition assistance in many communities over the past two decades to minimise the economic and social fall-out from significant job losses. It is only fair that the people of Canberra are treated with the same concern for their livelihoods and well-being.

“The Canberra community is anticipating significant job cuts over the coming years, as public sector spending contracts, households become more cautious in their spending and the private sector responds to a slowing economy.  There is a real risk of increased housing stress, family breakdown and long term unemployment. 

“Earlier this year, the Geelong and Broadmeadows communities faced the loss of 1,200 manufacturing jobs, in a population of around 185,000 people.  The Federal Government provided $67m in assistance. In 2002, the North Queensland sugar industry went through a major shake-up, and the Federal Government provided $60m to support regional restructuring. 

“But when it comes to the people of Canberra, all I’ve heard is a debate about how many jobs will go. Nothing about how the community will be supported to cope, nor how our economy will be supported to cope with the financial impacts of constrained investment and lower consumer confidence.

“The ACT Government Budget for 2013-14 included measures to buffer our community from the impact of reduced Federal Government employment and spending on goods and services in other industries.  But they can’t carry the whole burden of protecting and supporting our community.

“At our forum with Candidates from the three major parties on 3 September, I will be seeking a response to ACTCOSS’s very reasonable call for:

  1. High quality, comprehensive life transition counselling – including financial advice about investing redundancy payments, post retirement financial planning, advocacy with creditors, support to maintain social and emotional well-being through significant change in financial circumstances and role
  2. Increased assistance to Financial Counselling and Emergency Relief services – who will see increased demand during at least the next three years
  3. Increased resources for family and relationship support services to provide the support that will reduce risk of family breakdowns through potentially several years of financial difficultly”.

For more information or comment please contact
Susan Helyar, Director, on 0448 791 987.