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Work for the Dole a dud: time to get real.



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Senator John Cherry

Australian Democrats Employment spokesperson

20 th November 2003 MEDIA RELEASE 03/833

Work for the Dole a Dud: time to get real

It comes as no surprise that a study by the Melbourne Institute of Applied Economic and Social Research found that the Work for the Dole program has major failings, according to the Australian Democrats.

“Even the name has negative connotations,” said Democrats’ Employment spokesperson Senator John Cherry.

"The Democrats would like to see funding for a nation-wide community jobs scheme based on the Queensland government’s 'Community Jobs Plan', to replace the Federal government's Work for the Dole.

"The Queensland government 'Community Jobs Plan' program has achieved ongoing employment for 55 % of participants compared with only 25% in the Federal government's Work for the Dole scheme.

“The key to the scheme is providing onsite training and a ‘training wage’ that is higher than unemployment benefits.

“Participants leave the scheme with much more positive experiences than they do from the Work for the Dole program.

“Money for the Work for the Dole program could also be better spent on the Government’s most successful jobs program, which helps the unemployed to become self-employed.

“This scheme - the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme - has an 85% success rate in getting the unemployed into work. Yet, for every person accepted into the program, two miss out due to funding constraints.

“It does not make sense for the Government to continue expanding the Work for the Dole program when there are other programs that are vastly outperforming it and could provide better value for money in terms of getting people back to work,” Senator Cherry concluded.

Media contact: Pam Hose 0408 752 750