As a 7 per cent jobless rate looms for the Illawarra, federal Labor MPs believe the government should reinstate the local employment co-ordinator.
A Labor initiative, the position was held by Jane Robinson, who spent five years helping workers deal with retrenchment from a long line of companies including BlueScope, King Gee, Bonds, Wollongong Coal and MM Kembla.
Now Cunningham MP Sharon Bird and Throsby MP Stephen Jones believe the bleak jobless figures to be announced on Thursday heighten the need for the role.
"During the global financial crisis, Labor appointed a local employment co-ordinator to assist the region and form a rapid response team to support workers losing their jobs," Ms Bird said.
"The Prime Minister needs to stop abandoning the Illawarra and reinstate our local employment co-ordinator immediately."
Mr Jones said the federal government needed to make employment in the Illawarra a priority.
"Tony Abbott is presiding over the highest level of unemployment in over a decade - particularly here in the Illawarra," he said.
"His budget is in shambles and has been disastrous for the Australian economy."
Assistant Employment Minister Luke Hartsuyker said the position had not been axed by the Coalition government but was only funded by the previous Labor administration until June 30, 2014.
"The Coalition government is committed to delivering a more efficient and effective employment services system, which delivers results for job seekers and employers," he said. "The recently announced $5.1-billion employment services model will ensure funding is better targeted to deliver improved employment outcomes and is $1 billion more than Labor invested in the scheme."
Mr Hartsuyker said part of this effort would include a work for the dole co-ordinator being appointed for the Shoalhaven. He called on Ms Bird and Mr Jones to support the government's economic efforts by passing the budget.