12 February 2015
ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie comments on the rise in Australia’s unemployment rate
“The big jump in the unemployment rate we’ve seen today is deeply concerning, especially since it means 34,500 extra people are now in the troubling position of finding paid work in a tight labour market and those who rely on Newstart will have to struggle on the very low unemployment allowance payment of just $37 a day.
“High unemployment is one of the biggest social and economic challenges we face, particularly affecting young people, and a growing group of people who are being locked out of the labour market for more than two years.
“We urge the government to develop a national employment plan, especially to tackle the problem of youth unemployment which is as high as 20% in some parts of the country.
“Identifying opportunities for those looking for paid work, supporting them to develop new skills and linking them with real employers and real jobs must be at the heart of the Government’s welfare reform and employment agenda.”
“ACOSS has made a number of recommendations to the government, including the redesign of the Employment Pathways Fund model to increase flexibility and redirect resources from ineffective Work for the Dole programs to work experience, training and assistance to people who are unemployed long-term.”
“We’ve also called on the Government to partner with employers, social services and unions to develop a demand led employment strategy which links people looking for paid work with local employers. Our sectors have forged a consensus about what needs to happen. Now it is time for Government to come to the table.
“The result today highlights that investing in solutions that work in supporting people into real paid work must be a priority of the next Budget.
“We must stop the practise of blaming people for not being able to get a job and demonising them when they are already struggling to stay optimistic in a tough labour market.
“It is time for the government to get behind people trying to get a job by investing in solutions and giving people hope.”