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The punitive approach to unemployment

Professor Eva Cox writes in The Conversation (9.7.14) that: “policy makers should be aware that there are, at least, five unemployed job seekers for every official job vacancy. The official ABS count excludes job changers or non-active seekers willing to take one, so the ratio of job competitors to jobs could be twice as high. This means the chances of success are very limited, particularly for those who are not well qualified, lack recent experience or encounter employer prejudices.

“Heavying those who are unlikely to succeed in such circumstances is pointless and punitive. Yet proposed “reforms” clearly assume that younger people need their welfare income cut because they are not properly trying to find paid work. The clear example is the budget proposal of a six-month wait for unemployment benefits for those under 30. Less known is a proposal before the Senate to cut payments for those who miss appointments with job agencies or are seen as not pursuing a job deemed suitable by Centrelink. These often futile processes are difficult to negotiate and often totally unproductive.”

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