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The push to move more into employment. -

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The Government and Opposition both say a tougher approach is needed to move the long-term jobless
into employment, but the Opposition leader says the Government's plan lacks detail.

Transcript

LEIGH SALES, PRESENTER: The annual pre-Budget drip of stories has already started with the Prime
Minister revealing she's planning to mobilise the long-term unemployed to help feed the nation's
insatiable appetite for workers.

The Opposition Leader Tony Abbott's complaining that's his idea and he says Julia Gillard's plan
lacks detail.

At the moment, unemployment's below five per cent and that means moving the chronically jobless
into work will be easier said than done.

Chris Uhlmann reports.

CHRIS UHLMANN, REPORTER: Working the room and making a pitch for more workers.

JULIA GILLARD, PRIME MINISTER: Every Australian should pull his or her own weight.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The Prime Minister's mapping out the ground for a budget push to move people from
welfare to work.

JULIA GILLARD: We've gotta match opportunity and responsibility. So I'm saying people who can work
should work and they have a responsibility to be in work.

CHRIS UHLMANN: The only fight seems to be over whose idea it was. Tony Abbott's also been preaching
tough love for people on welfare.

TONY ABBOTT, OPPOSITION LEADER: The sentiments were the same, but there was no hard policy at all
in the Prime Minister's speech.

CHRIS UHLMANN: No-one disputes the dignity of work.

LIN HATFIELD DODDS, NATIONAL DIRECTOR UNITING CARE: Lifting people out of welfare payments means
you lift them and their families and in many cases you can positively impact their communities over
the long haul.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And the need for more workers is undeniable.

WAYNE KAYLER-THOMPSON CEO, VIC. EMPLOYERS' CHAMBER OF COMMERCE & INDUSTRY: In 15 years time we're
going to have a shortage of 1.4 million workers in this country if the economy stays the way it is.
If the economy grows, it's gonna be a bigger problem.

CHRIS UHLMANN: But with unemployment under five per cent, those left in the jobs queue are hard to
place.

LIN HATFIELD DODDS: People who are intergenerationally unemployed, people living with episodic
mental illness, people living with a range of physical and intellectual impairments, and those
things are not easily overcomeable. If they were, those people would be in jobs now.

WAYNE KAYLER-THOMPSON: Half a million people who are in this category, if we could get them into
the workforce it goes a long way to solving our labour shortage.

CHRIS UHLMANN: In Sydney's sprawling western suburbs, 20-year-old Rachel Speechly has been
unemployed for a year.

RACHEL SPEECHLY, JOB SEEKER: They're looking for people with a lot of experience and if you don't
sort of have that on the paper that you're sending to them it's kind of hard to show them that you
can even do the job because they'll kind of look at it and go, "Well, they don't have enough
experience."

CHRIS UHLMANN: Rachel Speechly shouldn't be hard to employ.

RACHEL SPEECHLY: There's nothing wrong with me at all. I'm just a perfectly normal person. I'm not
that stereotype. There are stereotypes like that out. You see them when you walk into Centrelink,
honestly, sometimes you do run into people like that. But a lot of people, we're not like that. We
just need to be able to have a break.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Others need more than just a break.

PETER KELL CEO, ANGLICARE SYDNEY: We know that the only way of getting them to point of
self-sustaining is to actually go on their journey with them, patiently helping them to increase
their skills and their capacities and changing their mindset as to what life is about.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Wendy Mayman lives in Melbourne's south-east. She spent five years out of work.

WENDY MAYMAN, AVOCARE PARTICIPANT: Once you've been unemployed for several months you just fall
into that trap, like a lotta people get caught into and that's when your confidence goes down, so
that's when you can't get a job. You just sit around and, yeah, stay home because you've got no
confidence so you just - you don't care.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Wendy Mayman's pathway back came through a government-funded job program, Avocare
Learning Solutions. It specialises in hard cases.

TRISH KEILTY, AVOCARE LEARNING SOLUTIONS: Male, female, young and old, some of our participants
have had disabilities, but it's amazing; if you give them a job to do, they're all anxious to work
and they're all anxious to learn skills.

WENDY MAYMAN: Without the training, me being here, I would not - I'd be still be on unemployment
benefits. For sure, I know that. So these places are so important to help. Everybody - like, all
different ages too.

CHRIS UHLMANN: Sometimes a little tough love does go a long way.

TRISH KEILTY: I think it's successful because some of these probably needed to be toughened up a
little bit. If you don't show up, your pay is docked. If you don't show up, you're reported to me,
and I tell you what, I don't put up with people that don't want to look for work.

CHRIS UHLMANN: One significant hurdle is the tyranny of distance: the jobs and the jobless are
thousands of miles apart.

WAYNE KAYLER-THOMPSON: Well we've got this imbalance. We need to look at the way we provide
incentives and encourage opportunities for employment to actually be moved into those areas.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And there are two sides to getting a job. Lin Hatfield-Dodds believes that too often
all the focus is on the employee, when there is also resistance from employers.

LIN HATFIELD DODDS: How do we shift the risk profile of long-term unemployed Australians for
employers and what can government do to provide employers with more incentive to actually offer
people jobs.

CHRIS UHLMANN: And some in the welfare sector are suspicious of the renewed push to clear the dole
queues.

PETER KELL, CHIEF EXEC., ANGLICARE SYDNEY: My biggest fear from what the Prime Minister has said is
that this will not be a thoughtful policy rollout, but rather a knee-jerk reaction to perhaps some
poll that has been read by someone in Canberra.

LIN HATFIELD DODDS: It's very disappointing to see leaders of political parties come out and have a
crack again at people who are unemployed. I've never met anybody who's unemployed in the long term
as a lifestyle choice.

CHRIS UHLMANN: So, what would Rachel Speechly say to the Prime Minister?

RACHEL SPEECHLY: I guess I'd probably say to her, "You have to tread carefully and you can't group
everyone in the same place. It's just not possible. Everyone's different." Some of us are trying;
I'm an example. We're trying. There's people that aren't; crackdown on them, go ahead. I think that
that should be done as well. But, don't be so hard on the people that are really, really trying.

LEIGH SALES: Chris Uhlmann.