Single young people who can’t find work should be forced to move to high-employment areas if they wish to continue receiving taxpayer-funded benefits, the government’s commission of audit has recommended.
More than half of the people currently receiving unemployment benefits through the Newstart scheme are single and do not have any dependants, according to the report.
The commission released its recommendations to the government today, which outline measures it can take to reduce spending and eventually return the budget to surplus, including suggested changes to the structure of social welfare programs such as Newstart.
Australia’s current unemployment benefit arrangements are a major pillar of the “social safety net”, the commission’s report says. However changes should be made ensure the long-term unemployed have an incentive to find work.
“It is particularly important young people do not fall into long-term unemployment.”
Given the significant support available and the relatively large numbers of younger unemployed, the Commission considers it reasonable to expect young long-term unemployed people to improve their job prospects by requiring those aged 22 to 30 to relocate to a high employment area, once they have been unemployed for more than 12 months.
Currently, people who are out of work lose access to unemployment benefits if they relocate to low employment areas without a good reason. This policy extends a similar logic to failure to relocate to areas of high employment.
Exemptions would be made for people with dependent children, or for those who have similar commitments and responsibilities. Under existing policies, support payments of up to $6000 exist to assist long-term unemployed people move to new areas.
A Job Commitment Bonus of $2,500, and up to $4,000, is also available for people who, having found a job, remain off welfare for a sustained period of time, according to the commission’s report.
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