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Tuesday, 18 October 1983
Page: 1889

Question No. 395

Mr Wells asked the Minister representing the Minister for Social Security, upon notice, on 25 August 1983:

(1) Is it a fact that a self-employed person is unable to obtain unemployment benefits unless that person de-registers himself and ceases advertising his availability.

(2) Is the Minister able to say whether a large number of people have been forced on to the labour market and on to the dole queues because these requirements have forced them to close down their businesses permanently rather than temporarily.

(3) What measures does the Minister propose to alleviate this problem.

Dr Blewett —The Minister for Social Security has provided the following answer to the honourable member's question:

(1) and (3) To qualify for unemployment benefit a claimant must be unemployed, capable of and willing to undertake suitable work and be taking reasonable steps to obtain such work. Every claim must be considered having regard to the particular circumstances applying to it. In deciding whether a self-employed person can properly be regarded as unemployed it is necessary to determine whether the extent of any continuing activities indicates a commitment to self- employment rather than to alternative employment. In this regard, it would be relevant to consider such factors as the extent of any continued advertising and the possession of relevant licences and/or equipment. However, it is not a pre- requisite for unemployment benefit that a self employed person cease advertising , surrender relevant licences or dispose of equipment.

(2) I am advised that the Commonwealth Employment Service does not maintain statistics on previously self-employed persons who register with it for employment assistance.