A new plan requiring jobseekers to apply for 40 positions a month has been condemned for needlessly increasing red tape obligations on small business owners.
The Abbott government this week unveiled its $5.1bn overhaul of the employment services system and has opened the door to feedback. The plan includes an extended work-for-the-dole scheme requiring those under 30 to complete 25 hours of community service a week and apply for 40 jobs per month. Those between 50 and 60 will still have to complete up to 15 hours of community service.
Executive Director of the Council of Small Business of Australia, Peter Strong, told Dynamic Business that the plan was “not workable”.
“It’s too many visits to employers, small businesses in particular,” he said. “You take a town like Goulburn where’s there’s like 600 or 800 unemployed – that’s 32,000 visits a month.”
“This is quite an aberration,” Mr Strong said. “I don’t know how this one slipped through. I don’t think they (the government) will continue with it. It creates a very, very difficult situation.”
The unemployment rate in Australia is currently 6 per cent with welfare groups criticizing the proposed shake-up, saying it isn’t aimed at appropriately skilling people or matching them to jobs they are equipped for.
Director of Employment, Education and Training at the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Jenny Lambert, said it was important to encourage job seekers to be more proactive in searching for work. However, she said further discussions with the government were being sought.
“It’s a question of how we can best achieve the government’s aims and our support of their aims in getting job seekers more proactive in seeking work,” she told Dynamic Business.
“We would certainly not like to end up in a situation where there’s just a whole heap of useless job applications being sent to employers.”
Ms Lambert said that if the restructure of the employment services was done properly, it could be of benefit to small business owners.
“Small business is where many of these people should and would get jobs. We need to have an employment service that can reach-out out to these small businesses.”