The Greens welcome the Government’s suspension of mutual obligations while Victoria is in a state of disaster but say that the suspension of compliance measures needs to be extended to the rest of the country.
"The Government's approach to mutual obligations throughout this pandemic has been haphazard, without proper information given to people on income support", Greens spokesperson on Family and Community Services Senator Rachel Siewert said.
"The constant last minute extension to the suspension has been very stressful for people who are concerned firstly about the health risks of having to go out during this crisis and also the anxiety about losing their payments.
"Mutual obligations need to be suspended across the country during such a time of uncertainty.
"I’m very concerned that the system will not meet the needs of the huge number of jobseekers and that the system is not fit for purpose.
"Giving unemployed workers standardised job plans, or asking them to apply for an arbitrary (albeit reduced) number of jobs each month, will not improve their chances of gaining employment.
"We need a new approach to helping people find and maintain work. We want to see more trust built between jobseekers and employment service providers which means getting rid of the compliance functions of employment service providers, giving people a better say over what’s in their job plan and ensuring employment service providers are providing individualised, responsive and tailored support to people.
"We know we have a very large number of people who are unemployed, underemployed and not currently engaged in the labour market many of whom will be engaging with job service providers and having to deal with mutual obligations for the first time.
"This will put a lot of pressure on a system that is already not fit for purpose and I am not confident the system is prepared for this influx.
"We must move to a supportive model that meets people's needs and focuses on supporting people rather than punishing them."
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180