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A lot of work still to be done on employment services in Australia

The Greens agree that job services in Australia need to be improved, but hold concerns that the newly announced jobactive scheme misses the mark, with an emphasis on Work for the Dole likely to lead to negative outcomes for jobseekers.

Senator Rachel Siewert, Greens spokesperson on Community Services, said the Work For The Dole measure should be dropped.

"It is alarming that the Government is expanding its Work for the Dole measure. We should ditch this unfair measure that has failed in the past and spend the money on packages that actually create skills and help match people to real jobs.

"Even with the added flexibility under jobactive, Work for the Dole is a simplistic, one-size-fits-all response to unemployment. Two decades of experimentation show that this regime is not effective and that long term unemployed are likely to cycle in and out of the programs because they're not getting the support they need to enter the workforce. This money should be spent on individualised support programs and early intervention.

"Work for the Dole also fails to address the reality that there just aren't enough jobs out there. People shouldn't be demonised just because they don't have a job.

"I am also concerned that many NGOs and charities will have to pick up the slack and provide volunteer programs for job seekers, while at the same time their budgets are being slashed by the Government. How are these organisations meant to provide basic training and supervision, let alone skills development?

"The Australian Greens support the announced wage subsidies to support the employment of young people, but have concerns about the Government's Relocation Assistance. Moving young people away from their support network to employment that may not properly materialise could have worrying outcomes.

"Plunging resources into seasonal work is also a concern as it is a simplistic response and not everyone is suited to that work. It does not ensure stability or secure longer term employment and makes it impossible to plan for the future.

"As evidenced recently in an episode by Four Corners, the old system was plagued with rorting. I am not confident that the same won't happen in this system particularly as the Government is reducing reporting and hence oversight.

"I will be talking to stakeholders at great length about what these changes mean to vulnerable Australians seeking employment. It is clear this system needs to be thoroughly evaluated for its merits", concluded Senator Siewert.

 

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