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Labor continues to meddle with welfare to work.

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Senator the Hon Helen Coonan Shadow Minister for Human Services

Further proposed Welfare to Work changes which will see senior welfare recipients forced to look for full-time work in order to receive their benefits, directly contradicts the already mixed messages being sent out by the Rudd Government.

After relaxing several of the successful reforms implemented under the Coalition, including the scrapping of face to face interviews between Centrelink and job seekers, a Rudd Government commissioned Participation Taskforce Report suggests that Labor has now decided to get tough with seniors.

“Over 55s will find it far more difficult to actively search for work, especially considering that vast numbers of seniors have been out of the workplace for some time and have limited options”, Senator Coonan said.

“Labor has slackened off any attempt at mutual obligation - there is no logic in exempting younger people and single parents from mutual obligation, but demanding it from our seniors.”

“Should Kevin Rudd follow this Report’s recommendation he would be sending an exceptionally confusing message.”

“It is important the Rudd Government clarifies their position”, Senator Coonan said.

The Report apparently also recommends that single parents be allowed to refuse job offers in order to continue study or training.

“Experts have repeatedly stressed the importance of self esteem in getting people back into the workforce. Giving priority to exemptions will not encourage people to take up job offers.”

“Building job seeker self esteem should be the main focus of any reform rather than merely tinkering with the welfare system”, Senator Coonan said.