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Government's new "digital platform" not the saviour of flawed Jobactive program   

Australian Greens Senator Rachel Siewert today said she has little confidence that a transition to a digital platform and other measures announced today will go any way to addressing the broken jobactive system.  

"For a start anyone who has spoken to or at least listened to someone on Newstart would know that it is very difficult for people to actually afford internet services and smart phones. 

"I have to ask, for people living on Newstart on payments as low as $40 a day, many for years at a time, will they be provided with a supplement to ensure that they can access digital services?

"The Government has an extremely poor track record of providing digital services and automated systems and making more people rely on it for important services is problematic.

"During the senate inquiry we heard that around 5 percent of employers actually used the jobactive scheme. But apparently job seekers are going to be able to "find" employers through an online portal?

“How is the Government going to ensure the privacy of jobseekers?  Are there just going to be lists of unemployed people on the internet waiting to be picked up by employers?

"The system is completely undermined from the outset because it prioritises compliance over genuine assistance and it needs a complete overhaul. 

"One of the key flaws in our approach to unemployment is welfare conditionality.

"Recent research on welfare conditionality in the United Kingdom shows that mutual obligations are consistently ineffective in facilitating paid work. It demonstrated that mutual obligations result in negative behaviour change and outcomes, such as disengagement from the social security system, increased poverty and exacerbated poor health.

"I am extremely worried about the impact of the Targeted Compliance Framework.

“We know that this punitive demerit point system is already resulting in homeless people, disabled people, women and First Nations peoples being cut off from any income at the highest rates. 

"The Greens welcome the Government's announcement that jobseekers will no longer have to apply for 20 jobs per month, but this goes no way to addressing a system which is failing unemployed workers."

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Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180

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