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Sole parents face 30 hours work a week in 'Welfare to Work' scam.



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Media Release

Penny Wong Labor Senator for South Australia Shadow Minister for Employment and Workforce Participation, Corporate Governance and Responsibility

Tuesday 31 May, 2005

Sole parents face 30 hours work a week in 'Welfare to Work' scam

Sole parents face virtual full-time work if they are to keep the Howard Government happy and ensure Job Network get full outcome payments, it has been revealed at Senate Estimates.

There is virtually no incentive for a Job Network member to help 'welfare-to-work' jobseekers meet their 15 hour per week work requirement. Instead, they are rewarded for job placements closer to full-time.

Job Network providers only get full outcome payments if clients no longer need any dole payments. They get partial outcome payments if a client only requires 30% of their dole payment. Under the 'Enhanced Newstart' payments,

• A sole parent earning $12.95 per hour in an Adelaide café would need to work over 30 hours per week for the Job Network member to get a full outcome payment.

• A 21 year old with a disability, earning $13.84 per hour as a shop assistant in Sydney would have to work over 27 hours per week for the Job Network member to get a full outcome payment;

Government officials at the Estimates hearing refused to guarantee this would be changed.

"This blows a huge hole in the Howard Government's 'welfare to work' scheme," Shadow Employment Minister Penny Wong said.

"The Howard Government has claimed these welfare recipients will only need to look for 15 hours work per week. But this claim is a scam, because there is little reason for the Job Network to help parents and people with disabilities get part-time work.

"For a Job Network member to get their money's worth, sole parents would have to take jobs that take them out of the home and prevent them from caring for their children.

"And people with disabilities will be pushed to the limit under Job Network funding arrangements.

"The lack of incentive for the Job Network to help 'welfare-to-work' jobseekers meet their obligations is all the proof you need that 'welfare to work' is really a scam designed to move people from one welfare payment to a lower welfare payment."

For further information: • John Olenich 0408 841 850