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Unemployed kicked off dole after six months

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H igher E ducation and E mployment S ervices T H E H O N . P E T E R B A L D W I N Μ . P .



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Unemployed people will be automatically kicked off the dole after six months if they refuse to work for below-award wages under the Coalition's revamped FIGHTBACK package.

Under Dr Hewson's sham 'Austrain' program unemployed people must accept work for 10% below the award if they have been unemployed for six months, 20% below the award after 12 months and 30% below the award after 18 months of unemployment, Employment Services Minister, Peter Baldwin, said today.

If they don't take one of these underpaid jobs, they will lose their unemployment benefits.

Mr Baldwin also pointed out that the discounted wages would be even lower under the Coaltion's industrial relations policies. He said Austrain would make unemployed people the guinea pigs for the Coalition's draconian enterprise bargaining agreements.

"Instead of enduring the death of a thousand cuts, the unemployed will only have to endure 999 cuts under Dr Hewson's revised proposals," he said.

"Dr Hewson thinks he can show compassion by claiming that he would no longer remove Job Search Allowance after nine months, and delay by one year his cuts to labour market programs and abolition of the Commonwealth Employment Service.

"But the Austrain plan shows that he has no compassion at all.

"It is a mark of Dr Hewson's understanding and compassion that it took 13 months for other people (and the opinion polls) to begin to show him the unfairness of his proposals, but from this effort it seems he still has a long way to go.

The Coalition's proposal to abolish the JOBSTART program of private sector wage subsidies for the long-term unemployed and other disadvantaged people is particularly worrying.

"JOBSTART is our most successful program which will provide real jobs for up to 120,000 people in 1992-93," he said.

Yet the Coalition would replace this program with its mis-named 'Austrain' proposal. This proposal, which offers absolutely no training,

* gives the lie to Dr Hewson's claims that the Coalition would not legislate to reduce wages or conditions - as that is precisely what 'Austrain' would do

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will force unemployed people to accept draconian working conditions under the Coalition's proposed enterprise agreements - because they will lose unemployment benefits if they refuse to take jobs on the conditions offered

gives the lie to Dr Hewson's claims that the Coalition has dropped its policies to deny long-term unemployed people the dole - anyone not prepared to work for such low wages would still have their income support taken away.

contains an enormous threat to the jobs of all those currently in employment - why pay someone full wages when there is a pool of people available to be forced into cheap labour?

These are outrageous policies that should never have been considered in the first place.

Further information: Sarah Taylor Mr Baldwin's Office (06) 277-7540 (02) 698 2678