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Work for the dole expansion has no justification

The Australian Greens said today that new information from the Department of Employment shows the Government is expanding Work for the Dole without justification.

"The Government has been heavily criticised this week for their proposed expansion of Work for the Dole, and now more information from Senate Estimates shows just how unjustified this approach is," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.

"Data in the Labour Market Assistance Outcomes report for March 2014 shows that existing Work for the Dole measures have the lowest overall employment outcome of any JSA activity with just 19.8% of people participating in Work for the Dole in employment three months later.

"The Government is trying to expand their work for the dole regime beyond the job seekers under 30 they targeted on budget night, but they're doing so without any real information about how this policy is will operate and despite results showing it isn't effective.

"When asked about the impact of the budget measures that target under 30s with work for the dole, the Department admitted that there are no estimates on the number of people who will move off income support and no estimates on the number jobseekers expected to be in full time or part time employment three months after participating in a work for the dole program.

"The Department's answers have also shown a fundamental flaw of Work for the Dole - that it does not offer meaningful training or support for job seekers.

"Under their plan for job seekers under 30, training will only be offered to participants if it ‘forms part of or is required by the Work for the Dole activity'. In other words, people will be taught the bare minimum they need to do for the Work for the Dole placement, they won't get any skills or training that will help them find actual employment.

"The lack of training and skills development is a fundamental criticism of Work for the Dole, and this information from the Department shows the Government is not interested in helping people into real work but punishing people for being unemployed.

"The Government needs to be investing in better case management and personalised assistance for job seekers to build their skills, address their employment barriers and place them in appropriate jobs," Senator Siewert concluded.


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