ALP plans overhaul of job welfare

The Australian, January 8, 2019 (EDITED – READ MORE)

Labor has revealed a blueprint for a “revamped version of mutual obligation” that does not punish jobseekers, ditches the need for unemployed people to apply for 20 jobs a month and ­re­designs Work for the Dole.

The opposition’s employment services spokeswoman Terri Butler told The Australian the current system annoys businesses, does little to help unemployed people find work and often stands in the way.

Business has backed the thrust of Ms Butler’s proposed ­reforms, which means major changes to the system are likely if Bill Shorten becomes prime minister after the May election.

“The way they (unemployed people) are being treated is a product of the business model, which is a product of the government’s mutual obligations,” Ms Butler said. “Change the obli­gations and you change the way people are treated.”

The $7 billion Jobactive system — a network of private and non-government employment service providers — is ostensibly funded to help working-age people in ­receipt of welfare payments find work, but Ms Butler says it has ­become mired in “box-ticking”.

sorting through unsuitable applications” submitted for the purpose of meeting job-search requirements. “Job-search requirements of 20 applications a month can impose unnecessary costs on jobseekers and employers, where applicants are not suitable for vacant positions,” the council says in a submission to the federal government’s review of employment services.

Council of Small Business of Australia chief executive Peter Strong told The Australian some businesses won’t hire people ­referred from employment service providers because it is an ­“absolute waste of time”.

“We are creating millionaires on the back of the long-term unemployed by paying providers to offer a failed service,” he said.

“The people that win are the service providers, not the unemployed or the employers. It beggars belief that we have this very textbook-driven view of how these things should happen when that is wrong and it is proven to be wrong. The whole system needs to be turned on its head.”