The government has retreated from its proposal that unemployed people apply for 40 jobs per month in order to receive the dole following widespread concern small businesses would suffer under the additional administrative burden.
The requirement will now remain unchanged at twenty applications per month with Employment Minister Eric Abetz saying the government had listened to the community. He acknowledged the strain the proposal would have placed on business.
“It could lead to less valuable job applications being made especially in certain areas where there aren’t as many jobs available, and also it would have been a burden especially on small business,’ Senator Abetz told ABC radio.
Head of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Kate Carnell, gave credit to the government for responding to the concerns of the business community. “We made it clear to the government that 40 was not doable, it was silly really,” she said.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott said that appropriate modifications had been made to the government’s policy. “Consultation that can’t result in any changes is meaningless,” he said.
The contentious plan to lift the number of applications to 40 per month was part of a broader budget push requiring young job seekers below 30 to wait 6 months before being eligible to receive the dole.
The government today unveiled its $5.1bn plan to renovate the employment services system and is likely to face pressure from the Labor opposition to now rethink its proposed expansion to the work for the dole scheme.
Under the new model, those aged under 30 will be required to do 25 hours of community work per week for six months of the year. Those aged between 30 and 50 will be required to do 15 hours while those aged between 50 and 60 will be asked to do 15 voluntary hours.
“Sixty formal submissions were received on the proposed model from a wide range of parties including provider and consumer representatives and employers,” said Senator Abetz.
“There was broad support for the proposed model including the increased emphasis on payment for results, more flexible servicing, a greater focus on indigenous job seekers and reduced red tape for providers.”