Young and Old in Employment Trap
30 March 2015 at 10:27 am
The Abbott Government must deliver on its promise to create an effective and sustainable jobs plan for all Australians, according to the National Welfare Rights Network.
President of the NWRN, Maree O’Halloran, said new payments data from the Department of Social Services (DSS) reveals that in February 2015 there were over 870,037 people relying on unemployment payments, including 760,149 Newstart Allowance recipients and 109,888 Youth Allowance recipients.
O’Halloran said in the previous 12 months, the number of people out of work increased from 849,224.
“The number of long-term job seekers increased by 11.5 per cent, from 251,800 to 280,864 in the previous 12 months,” O’Halloran said.
“The Budget in May must deliver a new skills and training package for young people and Indigenous job seekers.”
O’Halloran that both young and old people faced major hurdles when it came to finding work.
“We hope that more employers will open their doors for mature age job seekers, as there are almost 200,000 people aged over 50 on Newstart Allowance. Older workers, along with single parents and long term unemployed would benefit from a better-funded wage subsidy program, which has shown to be twice as effective in getting people into jobs that costly Work For The Dole programs,” she said.
“With unemployment at a 12-year high, it is young people who are bearing the brunt of the unemployment crisis. The national youth unemployment rate (for 15–24-year-olds) was at 14.2 per cent in January. This is more than twice the overall national unemployment rate (6.3 per cent).
“The reality is that there are simply not enough jobs to go around for every person who wants one.
“The existing labour market conditions show extreme competition for the available jobs. In December there were nearly 795,000 job seekers registered as seeking work in Job Service Australia providers and around 152,000 advertised vacancies per month. That is five registered job seekers competing for each advertised position. The average job seeker is aged 37 years, while the average length of time of registration with a job services member is more than two years (26 months). A single unemployed adult struggles to make ends meet on an impossibly low amount of just $260 a week.
“We can’t continue to let people continue to live on such low rates of payment any longer.”
O’Halloran said the recent McClure Welfare Review failed to propose a solution to the biggest problem with Australia’s social security system, which is the inadequate level of income available to people while they search for a place in today’s tight labour market.