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3 September 2001
On 23-25 September, Southern Cross University will host the 8th National Unemployment Conference at Ballina RSL Club, starting with a high energy panel session that will include Federal politicians such as Richmond MP and Minister for Community Services, Larry Anthony, the Minister for Employment Services, Mal Brough, the ALP's Cheryl Kernot and Democrat John Cherry. High profile author Craig MacGregor will chair this session.

Byron Shire general manager and former State politician, Robyn Read, will chair the ensuing regional and rural panel session involving the Member for Page, Ian Causley, his forthcoming electoral opponent Terry Flanagan from the ALP, Jenny McAllister, Labor's candidate for Richmond, The Greens' John Corkill and Democrat candidate Casey Balk.

Conference Convenor, Dr Leonie Jennings, from SCU's School of Social and Workplace Development, said, "This conference is timely when unemployment is still hovering around 7% nationally but higher in regional and rural areas. Other western nations have managed to achieve less than 5%. With the imminent announcement of the Federal election date, unemployment is an issue of national importance and of particular importance in the Federal electorates of Richmond and Page. Here is a chance for local people to participate in a debate of national importance."

The conference will consist of plenary sessions as well as paper presentations. The conference committee is encouraging sponsorship for unemployed people to attend and have their voices heard. Community and indigenous organisations, unemployment service providers, academics and people with an interest in social issues will all find opportunities to debate and share ideas to improve the lot of disadvantaged Australians.

Keynote speakers include -

? Sue Bradford bringing insights from the New Zealand experience where Work for the Dole has been abolished

? David Thompson from Jobs Australia

? Andrew Watson from the ACTU

A regional and rural politician panel will also help to crystallise issues in the Northern Rivers region. A website for the conference gives full details of papers and can be found at:

There is still time to register for the full conference or for day sessions.

For conference information contact:

Karen Hanna, Conference Manager, Norsearch Ltd, Southern Cross University ,PO Box 157, Lismore NSW 2480, Ph: 02 6620 3932, Fax: 02 6622 1954, e-mail:

For further details, please contact:

Dr. Leonie Jennings, School of Social & Workplace Development, Phone: (02) 6620 3614