(Australian Associated Press)
Schemes to help unemployed Australians find work should be overhauled, as the current system is costing taxpayers without helping people find jobs, a think-tank says.
A report from Per Capita released on Tuesday says a return to mutual obligation requirements, such as job interviews, will cost $322 million while unemployment remains at coronavirus levels.
It also warns that the work for the dole program reduces job availability and causes harm to people suffering from unemployment-related poverty and financial stress.
Per Capita’s executive director Emma Dawson says the government should instead put money towards genuine work experience programs.
“As it stands, the system simply does not help people find jobs, or support skills development,” she said.
“Work for the dole is also inherently risky for participants, who are not covered by existing workplace laws such as Workcover, and are too often forced into unsafe working environments.”
The jobless rate is currently at its highest level in nearly 20 years at 7.1 per cent, in the wake of restrictions in place because of coronavirus.
The report warns of a “work for the dole time bomb” as up to 220,000 people will be pushed onto the program by this time next year.
Mutual obligation requirements were paused at the height of the pandemic but have gradually restarted.
Welfare recipients won’t be penalised for failing to meet any conditions during the initial period.