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Senate Inquiry needed as young jobseekers face growing inequality

The Australian Greens said today that the Federal Government's treatment of young jobseekers will deepen inequality in the face of growing youth unemployment.

"The Government is imposing what they call 'reasonable' compliance requirements on young jobseekers, telling them to apply for 40 jobs a month and attend appointments with employment service providers, all while they're receiving no income support at all," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.

"Forcing people to live on nothing will make it much harder to meet their compliance requirements and find a job. If people don't meet these tough conditions, they face waiting even longer to get any income support.

"What does the Government honestly expect jobseekers to do? Rely on friends, family or emergency relief to survive?

"Taking income support away from people won't help them find jobs that aren't there. It makes it harder to find work, training or education opportunities. The latest jobs figures show that youth unemployment is 13.1%, and this won't be addressed by pushing people into poverty.

"The impact of these cruel changes on young jobseekers is one of issues that would be examined under the Greens' proposed Senate Inquiry into Inequality in Australia. This inquiry would provide a transparent and independent process to examine the Government's budget and policy and its impact on inequality across the community.

"It is undeniably cruel for the Government to expose young people to homelessness, to put a massive burden on the community sector and even deny pregnant jobseekers access to income support.

"The Government knows that the impact of their policy will be severe, which is why they've made arrangements for more than half a million applications for emergency relief over the next four years. They know people will be suffering as a result of this policy" Senator Siewert concluded.

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