The Abbott Government is facing further dissent from within, this time from Coalition MPs that are opposed to the Government’s plan to make job seekers aged under 30 wait six months before receiving Youth Allowance or Newstart. From ABC News:
Pressure is on the Federal government from regional backbenchers over plans to make young people wait six months before getting unemployment benefits.
The member for Page Kevin Hogan is among those lobbying for some relief in the plan.
Together with the group of backbenchers, he has been talking with Social Services Minister Scott Morrison.
Kevin Hogan’s comments to the ABC about the policy comes just a day after the Member for Gilmore Ann Sudmalis went public with her concerns.
“Obviously we do not want people to be literally starving in the street, I mean that is not what Australia is about, so there is discussion about how we can implement that better,” Mr Hogan said…
The member for Richmond is appalled by the plan to make young people wait for the dole.
Justine Elliot is worried about what the waiting period will mean for areas of high unemployment like the north coast.
“It is in fact incredibly unfair when you are saying to those people under 30 you’re not getting Newstart for six months, it means that you will be seeing a lot more people going into poverty, particularly on the north coast,” Ms Elliot said.
Thankfully, it looks as if the Government may have junked its policy once and for all. From The AFR:
On Wednesday, Liberal MPAnn Sudmalis said [Social Services Minister Scott] Morrison had assured her and more than 30 other colleagues in a meeting last week that a budget plan to force the young unemployed to wait six months before receiving the dole was set to be scrapped.
The Government always faced an uphill battle getting its plan through the Senate, so it is heartening to hear that it will be dropped once and for all.
Australia’s youth should breathe a collective sigh of relief as well.
Anyone with even a modest understanding of employment statistics (and common sense) would recognise that youth employment outcomes are poor not because they are lazy, but because the economy is too weak to generate sufficient jobs. This is why youth unemployment is at its highest level since 1998 and underemployment is at all time highs (see below charts).
The Abbott Government has erred badly in seeking to punish the young unemployed for no other reason than them being born at the wrong time and experiencing the worst employment conditions since the fallout from the early-1990s recession.
It’s moves are all the more hypocritical given its planned special incentive payments to employers that take on workers over the age of 50 who have been unemployed for more than six months – a measure that would crowd-out younger workers even more.
It also brings into focus the egregiousness of the Government’s open slather approach to foreign working visas, even though its own Department of Employment’s latest Skill Shortages Statistical Summary revealed that “the availability of skilled workers is greater than it has been since the current series began in 2007, and fewer occupations are in shortage”:
There are generally large fields of applicants vying for skilled jobs and employers fill a high proportion of their vacancies… Almost all employers attract applicants, with just 4 per cent not receiving any interest in their vacancies…
It’s time for Australia to stop eating its youth.
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