The Morrison Government’s failed PaTH internship program – introduced by disgraced former Industrial Relations Minister Michaelia Cash in the infamous 2016 budget – has fallen well short of all metrics according to new data.

The scheme requires any young people who have been out of work for five months to undertake training and then pays businesses $1000 to take them on as interns for a month, during which time they earn $4 per hour.

There is no incentive to retain interns in ongoing positions or even to keep them on for the full month, and businesses can bring in another intern and receive another $1000 at any time. Many of the placements to date have been at major supermarkets and in hotels, displacing real, wage-paying jobs.

Data revealed in senate estimates shows that the cost of generating a single job through the PaTH program is $19,000. The total cost of the program is $725 million.

For the cost of putting 53,000 through the Government’s free labour scheme, only 39,700 of whom got any form of ongoing employment, 125,000 young people could have received a TAFE qualification. This is ironic given that the Morrison Government’s immense cuts to TAFE and skills training has generated the pool of unemployed young people necessary for the operation of the PaTH scheme.

Quotes attributable to ACTU secretary Sally McManus:

“PaTH is codified, legislated exploitation of young people. Earning $4 an hour doing jobs that would otherwise pay minimum wage isn’t a leg-up, it’s free labour for big business.

“The program creates an incentive to churn through workers and increase exploitation. This is happening while we have a crisis of wage theft and regional youth unemployment.

“The Morrison Government is selling out young people to appease its backers in big business.

“Australians deserve a government which works to solve the wage growth, wage theft and unemployment crises, rather than making them worse.”