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Federal plans for unemployed unlikely to help. . .

7 October 2014
Federal plans for unemployed unlikely to help

Federal Government plans to expand work for the dole and to force people to relocate for work while removing income support for six months will not help address Victoria’s high rate of unemployment, warns the Victorian Council of Social Service.

“Victorians who are out of work are facing some the toughest job conditions in decades, with high levels of unemployment generally, and youth unemployment at its highest level in 15 years,” said Emma King, CEO of VCOSS.

“At this time Victoria needs to be able focus on job creation with an adequate safety net that supports people into employment and helps keep them there.”

“Yet some members of the Commonwealth Government seem to believe that people who are unemployed are to blame for being out of work. The reality in Victoria is there just are not enough jobs available for the number of people who are out of work – especially young people –and we need to support people into those jobs that are available.”

“While we welcome the Commonwealth Government’s back down on the number of job applications unemployed people must undertake each month, there are other aspects of this plan that will likely hinder rather than help people find and keep work.”

“The expansion of work for the dole programs and moves to force unemployed people to relocate to areas with higher employment rates are measures that run counter to what the evidence tells us actually works to assist people into employment.”

“Work for the dole has been a spectacularly unsuccessful program at getting people into work and keeping them there. In 2011 Work for dole had a 22 per cent success rate in keeping young people in work or study after 6 months. By contrast, the recently defunded Youth Connections program had a 94 per cent success rate keeping people engaged after 6 months.”

“Similarly, evidence shows that moving people from lower employment areas to those with higher employment is fraught with difficulty. A Productivity Commission report into Geographic Labour Mobility released earlier this year found that unemployed people face prohibitively high costs to relocate for work, that relocation creates significant disruption people’s lives, and many people’s job prospect do not improve after relocation.”

“The six months unemployed young people are expected to go without income support has been widely and rightly criticised as harsh, unfair and a breach of Australia’s human rights obligations. If implemented it would only serve to consign young people to lives of poverty, disadvantage and long-term vulnerability.”

“The Federal Government should follow the evidence on what works to support people into employment rather than taking a purely ideological approach which seeks to punish people for being unemployed.”

For more information, or to arrange an interview with Emma King with Emma King
please contact Ryan Sheales on 0418 127 153

Follow the conversation at www.twitter.com/vcoss

Level 8, 128 Exhibition Street, Melbourne VIC 3000
T: 03 9235 1000 F: 03 9654 5749 W: http://www.vcoss.org.au E: vcoss@vcoss.org.au