Unemployment is rising and Budget policies cast young people adrift

8 August 2014

The Australian Council of Social Service today said the sharp rise in unemployment is disturbing and highlights the risks posed by current Federal Government proposals that strip away supports and payments for people struggling to find paid work, especially young people.

“The latest unemployment figures expose the folly of policies that cast young people adrift without income support for six months and make them search for 40 jobs a month,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie.

“The reality is that it’s becoming increasingly difficult to find work, not easier. In many parts of the country, the jobs simply aren’t there. There are less jobs available to young people now than there were before the GFC six years ago.

“The answer is not to make people search harder, or push them into failed ‘work for the dole’ programs.

“The starting point for policies that work to reduce youth unemployment is the transition from school to paid work. Young people are not getting the career advice and support they need at school, and schools are not well connected with local employers and support services. The Youth Connections program is providing that support, but in the same Budget that cuts unemployment payments for young people, that program lost its funding.

“ACOSS welcomed the recent announcement of wage subsidies to give long term unemployed young people a foot up in the tough jobs market. Wage subsidies in regular paid jobs are much more effective than working for the dole.

“However, the Government has largely ignored cost-effective proposals that are widely viewed as likely to help, such as the joint recommendations from the Business Council of Australia, the ACTU and ACOSS Alliance on how to remove barriers to employment for people disadvantaged in the labour market.

“We all – business local communities, unions, and social services and governments – need to work together to open up job opportunities for unemployed people. If we don’t do this, a temporary weakness in the labour market will become an economic and social disaster,” Dr Goldie said.

Media Contact: Fernando de Freitas 0419 626 155

More information on ACOSS proposals:
Alliance proposes partnerships to secure jobs for disadvantaged jobseekers
– 30 June 2014
ACOSS calls on government to dump plan to cut payments for young unemployed people and focus on jobs
– 5 June 2014
Focus on jobs not penalising people: ACOSS
– 28 May 2014