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Punitive jobs plan misses chance to help unemployed Australians

Media Release
Rachel Siewert 28 Jul 2014

The Australian Greens said today that the Government is out of touch with the reality faced by jobseekers and is resorting to unproven work for the dole measures and tough compliance regimes.

"The Government is missing an important chance to really help jobseekers, they are taking a punitive approach when they should be investing in people to help find long term solutions to unemployment," Senator Rachel Siewert, Australian Greens spokesperson on family and community services said today.

"Today's announcement appears to be Job Services Australia funding re-badged and dressed up. Is the continuation of a simplistic, punitive approach from the Government.

"Work for the Dole doesn't help people prepare for work, and yet the Government is trying to push more and more job seekers onto this regime.

"They are also pushing people to apply for 40 jobs a month, which is an unrealistic target, the jobs aren't there and it sets people up to fail. How are people supposed to meet this requirement if they're living on an inadequate payment like Newstart, or if they're being denied income support for more than 6 months at a time, as the Government is proposing?

"Simply demanding people apply for jobs won't create new positions, and the personal toll of being rejected for job after job will be very disheartening, not to mention the amount of administration required in compliance areas.

"Rather than focusing on long term employment, the Government are including short term, 4 week jobs as viable options. This type of short term, insecure work does not offer quality employment opportunities and puts people at risk of cycling in and out of unemployment. These short term payments are also more likely to be subject to rorting as has happened in the past.

"Creating new activity requirements for older jobseekers also ignores issues like age discrimination, which we know is a significant factor in the 40% increase we've seen in older jobseeker receiving Newstart since 2010.

"The Government have a chance to do things right, instead of taking a punitive approach they should be investing in people to help find long term solutions to unemployment.

"They're demonising people when they should be supporting them. We need individualised services and support with comprehensive case management to work with job seekers, address their specific needs and help them into a secure job," Senator Siewert concluded.

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