Bonus For Jobless Australians Will Give Financial Relief But Won’t Increase Job Offers

17 August 2010

ACOSS welcomes the Coalition’s plan to give a financial bonus to young long-term job seekers once they have been in work for a year, but says more incentives are needed to encourage employers hire them.

The relocation assistance will also help long-term unemployed people but the proposed 6-month penalty is too harsh and would cause hardship.

“Prolonged unemployment has a devastating and demoralising impact on unemployed people and their families,” Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service.

“The Coalition’s proposed employment bonus offers important financial relief for young people who have been without work, and help them to pay off debts and bills. But the main cause of long term unemployment is not lack of incentive – long-term job seekers get few, if any, offers of work from employers.

“The most effective policies to reduce long-term unemployment are programs that improve job seekers’ skills and work capacity and encourage employers to hire them.

“ACOSS has welcomed the Coalition’s proposal for a wage subsidy to encourage employers hire mature age workers and has called for the scheme to include younger jobseekers where appropriate.

“The financial crisis hit just over a year ago and thousands of Australians are still feeling the effects of the downturn, especially those who couldn’t find work again. 600,000 Australians are on unemployment payments, and one in two has been without paid work for over a year.

“People who have been out of employment long-term often require intensive and individual assistance to move back into paid work. Currently employment service providers receive just $500 per person to assist long-term unemployed people move back into work.”

ACOSS has also called for the Government’s Earn or Learn education and training guarantee to offer more training linked to work experience and better access to individual guidance and support to choose the right course and complete it.

“ACOSS is pleased to see relocation assistance to help people move from areas of high to lower unemployment, but funding should prioritise long term unemployed people who are struggling to find jobs locally,” said Dr Goldie.

“The proposed penalty of six months without income support for those who move and subsequently leave a job is far too harsh and will discourage people from taking up relocation assistance.”