Nats leader promotes Newstart fraud

Recall that Deputy Prime Minister Michael McCormack has told unemployed job seekers to get off welfare and go bush for jobs:

“There are jobs out there in regional Australia, and there are good paying jobs. And what I think we do need in this country is a more mobile workforce. So people have to be prepared to move sometimes out of their comfort zone and out of their home town to the next town to take a job,” Mr McCormack told Sky News.

“There are jobs there it is just that you are not always going to get a job in the home town you have grown up in. You are not always going to get the job for the right here and now.

“A job, any job, will be better than none at all and it will be better than living on welfare. And certainly with Newstart it is that stopgap, it is that safety measure it is not supposed to be a living wage as such.”

There’s a small problem with McCormack’s reasoning: the unemployment rate in Australia’s regions is generally higher than the cities:

  • Sydney (4.4%) versus rest of NSW (4.9%);
  • Melbourne (4.4%) versus rest of VIC (4.4%)
  • Brisbane (6.1%) versus rest of QLD (6.5%)
  • Perth (6.0%) versus rest of WA (5.7%)
  • Adelaide (5.6%) versus rest of SA (5.8%)
  • Hobart (6.7%) versus rest of TAS (5.9%)

Moreover, how are Newstart recipients struggling to live on $40 per day supposed to travel around the country looking for work? Especially when the Newstart rules explicitly prohibit a shift to an area of higher unemployment:

When it applies

This non-payment period may apply if you move and you’re getting 1 of these payments:

It may also apply if you move within 6 months before claiming 1 of these payments.

If you’re thinking of moving and want to know how it may affect your payment, contact us.

How we assess if the waiting period applies

We compare factors at your old and new addresses, including both the:

  • size of labour markets
  • unemployment rates.

We’ll let you know if you’ll have to wait 26 weeks before you get a payment when you either:

  • update your address
  • submit a new claim for an income support payment.

When it may not apply

Depending on your reasons for moving, you may not have to wait 26 weeks before you’re paid.

You may not have to wait 26 weeks if you meet the travel rules. These include:

  • your old and new addresses are in the same town and postcod
  • you’re moving to, or within 90 minutes travel from, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Perth or Adelaid
  • your new home is within 90 minutes travel from your original home.

There is only one person that needs to go bush.

Houses and Holes

David Llewellyn-Smith is Chief Strategist at the MB Fund and MB Super. David is the founding publisher and editor of MacroBusiness and was the fouding publisher and global economy editor of The Diplomat, the Asia Pacific’s leading geo-politics and economics portal.

He is also a former gold trader and economic commentator at The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, the ABC and Business Spectator. He is the co-author of The Great Crash of 2008 with Ross Garnaut and was the editor of the second Garnaut Climate Change Review.

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