‘It’s part of the Federal Government’s tough talk; they think it’s going to appeal, but I think people are smarter than that and they are looking at the cuts being made to training,’ the MP for Midland said.
‘Many unemployed people in the area simply don’t have the resources to apply for 40 jobs a month.
‘If people are faced with losing their benefit, I can see small businesses being hounded for work by unsuitable applicants.
‘This Government’s focus should be on helping young people get the job skills that are in demand ” people are now deterred from going to Tafe because of the huge fees charged for courses.’
The Work for the Dole expansion plan was unveiled on July 28, along with a $5.1 billion investment program designed to ‘reinvigorate employment services’ over the next three years.
Under the proposed changes due to start in July next year, most job seekers would work for the dole between 15 to 25 hours a week, for six months of the year, with people aged under 30 and those considered ‘more able’ committed to 25 hours a week.
Job seekers working for the dole would be limited to performing duties at not-for-profit, government and |government-associated organisations to ensure other job seekers were not disadvantaged.
Allison I’Dell, managing director of The Work Depot in Midland, said her not-for-profit organisation had been involved with the Work for the Dole Program for some time and the proposed changes would formalise and expand on the model.
She said job seekers did not necessarily have to apply for 40 jobs a month, but they would have to show evidence of 40 job-related ‘activities’ a month and this could include ‘cold calling’ on businesses, which could represent several ‘activities’ in one hit.
‘The biggest issue we find is that many people we see don’t know where to look for work,’ she said.
‘What I’m seeing in these proposed changes is that people will need to know a lot more about where to get help and more about what constitutes an employment activity,’ Ms I’Dell said.
‘Most people who come to us are struggling anyway, they don’t know how to apply for a job and they may have been referred to us by a job service agency.
‘Our services include taking people to interviews and more recently we’ve been providing clients with food because how can people be expected to look for work if they’re hungry?’
In the past six months, The Work Depot has provided lunch to more than 350 job seekers from its Old Northern Highway office.