'One In The Morning, One In The Afternoon': The New Rules For Jobseekers To Get The Dole

Labourers gather, looking for work, 1931. Photo: Fox Photos/Getty

Jobseekers under 50 will be expected to apply for 40 jobs a month under new rules being introduced by the Abbott government as it expands it work-for-the-dole program.

Employment minister Eric Abetz told the ABC’s Lateline program it was “reasonable” to ask the unemployed “to seek a job of a morning and of an afternoon”.

But he also admitted it may lead to “box-ticking” as people seek to comply with the government’s new draft employment and welfare changes, part of a $5.1 billion reshaping of the employment services system.

“We don’t want red tape and inconvenience to employers but what we do want is a genuine attempt by the job seeker to obtain employment,” Senator Abetz said.

He rejected a study of the Howard-era Work for the Dole system which found it was the least effective way to make people job ready saying he had “anecdotal evidence” that it worked.

Under the new plan, jobseekers under 30 will be expected to perform 25 hours of community work or some other mutual obligation role under work-for-the-dole, for at least six months of the year. Between 30 and 49, it’s 15 hours a month. Mutual obligation will also be extended to the unemployed aged 50-60 who will also be asked to undertake 15 hours of approved activity a week.

The government’s focus shifts away from training, unless it’s for specific, high demand jobs in a local area, in favour of mandatory work-for-the-dole.

The incentive program for job agencies and providers will also be changed, and employment-services contracts will be extended from three to five years.

The government is planning new subsidies for mature-age workers and the under 30s and payments to employers will also be scaled depending on the complexity of individual cases, with “outcome” payments at one, three and six months.

The changes are now open for a month of public consultation, with the government planning to roll out the new model and tenders in September.

Australia currently has an unemployment rate in June was 6%, up from 5.8% the previous month. Around 741,000 Australians are unemployed, meaning employers can expect to receive 1.5 million job applications a day, or 380 million applications a year.

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