Australians looking for work need a Government who creates jobs, not one happy to push them onto the failed ‘work for the dole’ program.

“If the Government was seriously interested in addressing unemployment and getting people off welfare they wouldn’t be forcing people into a program that has been proven not to work, ACTU Secretary Dave Oliver said.

“Research shows that the work for the dole program doesn’t provide real pathways into employment, it doesn’t up-skill participants and it takes valuable time away from job search activities.

“In fact, the research found that participants in the work for the dole program were more likely to remain on unemployment payments than non-participants in the first 6 months after starting.

“All this program does is leave people trapped on the work for the dole – welfare merry-go-round without any hope of getting off.

“The unemployment rate for 15 to 24 year olds is more than double the national ¬average at 12.5 per cent and is projected to rise – the problem is the lack of jobs.

“Unemployed people need support to get into work and they need jobs to go into, they don’t need punitive measures like the failed work for the program.”

Mr Oliver said the lack of coherence in the Government’s employment “strategy” is demonstrated by Senator Abetz advising job seekers to move to Tasmania to pick fruit, while the Prime Minister last week advised Tasmanian job seekers to leave the state in search of employment as well as a Federal Budget that has gutted skills and training investment.

“The Government wiped over half a billion dollars in support for skills including apprenticeships plus around $360 million in support for innovation in the Federal Budget.

“This leaves workers and communities impacted by recent closures and job loses without sufficient support and it provides no new vision or support for jobs or industry of the future.”
Mr Oliver said the measures announced in the Federal Budget that will see unemployed people without access to any sort of safety net for six months were cruel.

“Under the Abbott Government, if you lose your job and through no fault of your own can’t find a new one then you’re on your own. That’s not the Australian way,” Mr Oliver said.

“Today we’ve seen another 450 jobs go at Qantas with a total of 5000 expected to go, the car industry has collapsed and the Government is getting rid of around 16,500 public sector workers – what are these people and their families going to do?

“All Australians who can work should work and that’s why it’s incumbent on Government to ensure the jobs are there.”