NXT Rejects Five-Week Dole Wait

17 Jul 2020

The Nick Xenophon Team has rejected the Coalition’s proposed welfare reforms for young people and pensioners, saying it was fundamentally unfair for the Federal Government to repair the budget off the back of some of Australia’s most disadvantaged.

The NXT Team confirmed its position yesterday after Rebekha Sharkie MP met with Social Services Minister Christian Porter.
Ms Sharkie told the Minister NXT was keen to help young job seekers into jobs but there was no evidence from the sector that the Government’s measures would deliver results.

“We don’t think budget cuts should be made off the back of some of Australia’s most disadvantaged,” the Member for Mayo said.

“The Government wants to starve young job seekers out of a fox hole to get jobs that frankly aren’t there, and what we’ve found from talking to the groups at the coalface, those who actually work to get people into jobs, is using a big stick won’t work.

“It costs money to look for work, to print out hundreds of resumes and drop them off at businesses and to travel to job interviews.

“Why should a 23-year-old job seeker be treated any differently to a 53-year-old job seeker and be made to wait five weeks for income support?

“We are all in favour of young people getting into the workforce but that means supporting them to do that, not potentially driving them into homelessness or even to crime if they get really desperate.”

Ms Sharkie said there were 270,000 people looking for 150,000 jobs at the moment and the ABS and the head of the Reserve Bank acknowledged that a significant percentage of young people were under-employed and wanted more hours.

“There is no evidence of mass-laziness,” she said.

“The question people should be asking is where are the jobs? We have such a soft job market, particularly in my home state of SA and it’s fundamentally unfair to inflict such punitive measures on young people.”

NXT investigations also showed the Government’s reforms did not reflect the New Zealand model for activating job seekers as NZ did not discriminate between job seekers by age and did not set a mandatory time period for accessing income support.
NZ job seekers obtained income support as soon as they finished mandated requirements such as producing a resume and making an appointment with a case worker.

Senator Xenophon reinforced Ms Sharkie's comments on the lack of jobs by highlighting the Federal Government is under spending by $1.24billion the money set aside in the Automotive Transformation Scheme.

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