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Work for the dole extension a cruel hoax on jobseekers.

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Senator Natasha Stott Despoja

Deputy Leader of the Australian Democrats

Employment Spokesperson


12 March 1999


Work for the Dole extension a cruel hoax on jobseekers


In extending the Work for the Dole scheme, the Government is perpetrati ng a cruel hoax on unemployed people, subjecting them to a scheme which forces them through the motions of work, said the Australian Democrats’ Employment Spokesperson, Senator Natasha Stott Despoja.


“This is an exercise in punitive futility,” said Senator Stott Despoja.


“This Budget does little for employment from the Government, which pledged to make the reduction of unemployment a key priority, instead they have avoided any commitment to job creation and resorted to an extension of an ineffective and expensive program.


“The Government has admitted that Work for the Dole is less successful in finding people work than the labour market programs it scrapped upon coming to power, and acknowledges that despite pouring $111 million into extending the scheme, it will have no effect on reducing unemployment, which is predicted to remain at 7.5 percent.


“Department of Employment figures reveal that Work for the Dole has an outcome rate of merely 32 percent , at a cost of $3,906 per placement, compared with the now-defunct Jobs Clubs program, which had a higher success rate, at a cost of only $1,736 per placement, or JobStart, which had a success rate of 50 percent at only a slightly higher cost than Work for the Dole.


“Moreover, Work for the Dole involves the more employable jobseekers — those not assessed as having specific barriers to finding work. Jobs Clubs and JobStart assisted the entire range of jobseekers, including long-term unemployed, and mature-age jobseekers.


“The Government abolished these programs without evaluating their performance, but will extend Work for the Dole without an adequate evaluation of how it will improve the employment prospects of new participants or how it can be improved.


“Rather than provide real training and work opportunities, this Government prefers to shunt jobseekers into a ‘one size fits all’ scheme which gives people little opportunity to develop their skills, and which contains no job creation measures.


“It is clear that the Government has washed its hands of job creation and unemployment reduction. Its election commitments to assist jobseekers are hollow promises and for Australia’s hundreds of thousands of jobseekers, this is an empty Budget,” concluded Senator Stott Despoja.


For comment contact Senator Stott Despoja on (02) 6277 3645