Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
Unemployed caught in Brough's mutual obligation farce.



Download PDFDownload PDF

Wayne Swan MP Shadow Minister for Family and Community Services

UNEMPLOYED CAUGHT IN BROUGH’S MUTUAL OBLIGATION FARCE

New evidence obtained by Labor puts the lie to Minister Brough’s claims that the problems with the Job Network are the fault of jobseekers.

A breakdown in the system that links Centrelink, jobseekers and the Job Network have seen more than one hundred thousand job seekers wrongly recommended for fines for breaches of their mutual obligations.

Up to 80% of recommendations to cut payments of the unemployed who supposedly fail obligations are not implemented by Centrelink when investigated.

Computer failures, bungled referrals, and miscommunication between jobseekers, Job Network providers, Centrelink, and Work for the Dole are tangling everyone up in red tape.

Senate Estimates figures1 show that between July and December 2002 Centrelink received:

• 110,171 recommendations to cut payments to jobseekers by Job Network providers but a staggering 87,104 were either revoked or rejected; • 43,722 recommendations to cut payments to jobseekers by Work for the Dole providers but 35,274 were either revoked or rejected.

In other words eight in ten mutual obligation triggers have been found to be wrong.

And the situation has clearly become worse, because in 2001-2002 ‘only’ seven in ten were wrong. Around 270,000 jobseekers were breached in 2001-02.

Now in order to prop up the Job Network the Government is to remove 75,000 Work for the Dole participants from the program.

The Government’s system has seen the payments of tens of thousands of jobseekers wrongfully removed and more than a hundred thousand wrongful recommendations by providers to cut payments.

It’s time Minister Brough stopped blaming the unemployed and took responsibility for the absolute dog’s breakfast that is the Job Network

ENDS Thursday 10 Jul 03 Web: www.SwanMP.org

Contact: Wayne Swan on 0418 795 329 Matt Linden on 0407 430 613

1 Senate Community Affairs Committee Additional Estimates February 2003 - Question on notice 3 & 4 (attached)

Output Group: Centrelink Question No: 3

Topic: Breaching

Written question on notice

Senator Bishop asked:

“Please provide figures for the periods a) 2001-2002 financial year b) July 2002-February 2003 detailing the number of breach recommendations from Job Network?”

Answer:

There are no recommendations to breach. The Job Network provides participation reports to Centrelink when a job seeker does not comply with a specific requirement, which Centrelink then investigates.

Centrelink does not count the number of participation reports sent by Job Network Members and Community Work Coordinators. Via breach data Centrelink can determine the origin of a breach decision and report that breach activity as originating from a participation report. Breach activities include: the number of breach penalties that have been imposed; the number of breach penalties that have been revoked after review; the number of participation reports that have been received and subsequently not applied; and, the number of breach activities raised in error.

In the financial year 2001-2002 there were a total of:

¾ 194,084 breach activities arising from Job Network Members participation reports ¾ 79,863 breach activities arising from Community Work Coordinators participation reports

In the 2002 - 2003 financial year, from July to December, there were a total of:

¾ 110,171 breach activities arising from Job Network participation reports ¾ 43,722 breach activities arising from Community Work Coordinators participation reports

Output Group: Centrelink Question No: 4

Topic: Breaching

Written question on notice

Senator Bishop asked:

“Please provide figures for the periods a) 2001-2002 financial year b) July 2002-February 2003 detailing the number of breach recommendations from Job Network providers that were overturned by Centrelink?”

Answer:

The data prior to the 2002-2003 financial year cannot be separated into the number of breach activities, from Job Network Member and Community Work Coordinator participation reports, that have been received and subsequently not applied (rejected) and those that were applied and overturned (revoked).

The total of breach activities in the financial year 2001-2002 that were revoked or rejected (these cannot be separated) by Centrelink were:

¾ 131,226 from Job Network Members participation reports ¾ 56,419 from Community Work Coordinators participation reports

In the 2002 - 2003 financial year, from July to December, there were a total of 87,104 breach activities arising from Job Network Members participation reports that were either revoked or rejected by Centrelink.

¾ Revoked: 6,284

¾ Rejected: 80,820

There were 35,274 breach activities that were arising from Community Work Coordinators participation reports either revoked or rejected by Centrelink for the same period.

¾ Revoked: 2,649

¾ Rejected: 32,625