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The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council is co-sponsoring a conference on full employment with the Centre of Full Employment and Equity (CofFEE) at the University of Newcastle 2 - 3 December 1999.

The conference will take place at the Radisson Central City Hotel at the corner of King and Steel Streets Newcastle. Registration forms are available from the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council or via the conference website http://e1.newcastle.edu.au/coffee/.

'CofFEE and the ACSJC have combined their efforts so that the idea that full employment is possible can be advanced in the public sphere. We both see that the failure to reduce unemployment is above all a failure of political will. Full employment can be achieved through direct government action and is the most pressing problem facing the world economy as we go into the next century,' said Professor Bill Mitchell, Director of the Centre of Full Employment and Equity at Newcastle University.

'The Australian Catholic Social Justice Council is committed to promoting full employment. Providing meaningful employment for all who seek it is a moral imperative and one in which we all share responsibility. Some commentators, who take a narrow view of the role of government, like to suggest that Church bodies like ours are economically naïve in promoting such a view but there is substantial opinion within the academic community that this is not simply wishful thinking,' said Ms Sandie Cornish, Chief Executive Officer of the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council.

'For those committed to the Catholic tradition, unemployment is not just a technical economic issue. As the Australian Catholic Social Justice Council says in its recently released Position Paper on Unemployment:

Work is the key to building a just society. This is why teachings about work and the rights and duties of workers and employers have been central to the teaching of the Church about social justice. Work is important for many reasons. It is our right and our vocation, it is a way in which we express ourselves and grow as persons. It is a way in which we come into relationship with others and contribute to the common good. And it is how most of us have access to the necessities of life.

Many Australians who are seeking secure and adequately paid employment are unable to find it. Social inequality is growing and even some of those who have employment are experiencing poverty.

Unemployment is a serious social evil. It deprives people of the income that they need to live, it wounds their spirits, it increases dependency on Government, and it deprives people of self esteem and the opportunity to contribute to society and to their own well-being.

'Our commitment to the human dignity of all people, created in the image and likeness of God urges us to take action against unemployment,' Ms Cornish concluded.

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