ACOSS urges Government to address hours of paid work, not just numbers of jobs

29 January 2019

The Australian Council of Social Service is urging the Morrison Government to get serious about helping people who are unemployed and need more paid work, as part of its jobs commitment today. The Government should tackle under-employment as well as unemployment, and ensure people who are unemployed have a decent income and a real chance of picking up any new jobs that are created.

ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said: “Right now, there is just one job available for every 8 people who are unemployed or underemployed and there are more than one million people who have some paid work can’t get enough hours.

“The employment rate includes people with as little as one hour of work. There are many people looking for more hours of paid work in order to get by, including in regional areas, and finding it really tough.

“People who are looking for a job or more hours should be treated with respect and given the support they need to find work in today’s changing job market, not punished with unfair rules and constantly told it’s their fault.

“The Government needs to reform the employment services system so it cannot unfairly punish people and get rid of the raft of bad policies that have made life unbearable for people locked out of paid work.

“It is ironic that today’s commitment to job creation coincides with the commencement of Cashless Debit Card in Bundaberg, which degrades people while they look for work.

“The Morrison Government continues to ignore the expert advice against bad policies like Work for the Dole, the Community Development Program, ParentsNext, the Cashless Debit Card, and Robodebt, all of which operate primarily to make life harder for people, not to help them into employment. It is also ignores the broad consensus that social security payments are far too low, at just $40 a day.

“The Government needs to acknowledge that people locked out of paid work in the current labour market need greater support and flexibility not tougher compliance.

“Job Active agencies need enough resources to work with people in a positive way, one-on-one to find suitable training and jobs. Employers often say people unemployed long-term don’t have the experience or skills they need. The solution is properly-paid experience in a regular job and real investment in training.

“We need to face the challenges of the changing job market together so that people are not left behind,” Dr Goldie said.