EDITORIAL: Putting the blame on jobless
WELFARE advocates warn that new rules forcing young unemployed people to search for 40 jobs a month and work without taxpayer payments won’t get them employed.
Anglicare Australia and the National Welfare Rights Network have welcomed parts of the government’s three-year, $5.1-billion job placement program, to be rolled out from July next year.
They have applauded the provision of wage subsidies for mature-age workers, young job seekers and the long-term unemployed.
But they’re concerned about punitive measures for people under 30, who will work for no dole for six months while applying for 40 jobs every month.
‘‘It’s a path to disillusionment and demoralisation,’’ Anglicare acting executive director Roland Manderson said yesterday.
Mr Manderson believes it will force more people to seek emergency relief.
Labor accused the government of writing a recipe for social disaster among young people, warning about increasing rates of homelessness and anti-social behaviour.
For older workers, it was an insult to make them work for the dole given their ample work experience.
‘‘This is cruel and counter-productive,’’ opposition employment spokesman Brendan O’Connor said.
The federal government argues, here is proof that work-for-the-dole works, which is why it is expanding it to cover all job seekers aged under 50.
Making those under 30 work 25 hours a week, and 30-49 work 15 hours a week, would impart important job and life skills and ease them into the workforce, it said.
It was the least taxpayers expected of those on welfare.
‘‘It is absolutely obvious that if you are sitting at home not looking for work, you are unlikely to get a job,’’ Assistant Employment Minister Luke Hartsuyker said.
There are also concerns the measures will be rolled out without the need for legislation.
Mr Manderson said it will be hard to hold the government to account.
‘‘The only say you get is through public debate,’’ he said. AAP