Long-Term Unemployment Growing
28 September 2015 at 12:53 pm
Seventy per cent of people on unemployment benefits have been without a job for more than a year, according to Australia’s peak welfare body.
An analysis of Centrelink data by the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) found that of those people on those on Newstart or Youth Allowance, 597,096 are long term recipients out of a total of 853,662.
The data shows that there has been an increase of people on unemployment benefits of 38,213 from August 2014 to August 2015 – a jump of 6.8 per cent.
“We are extremely concerned that more people are out of paid work for longer. There are now almost 600,000 people who’ve been out of work for more than a year, which is 70 per cent of the total number receiving Newstart and Youth Allowance,” ACOSS CEO Cassandra Goldie said.
“These worsening figures highlight the need for the Federal Government to ensure that increasing employment is an immediate strategic priority, including increasing the participation of people unemployed long term. Clearly there are fewer jobs available now, with just one job for every five people looking for paid work.”
Goldie said the current unemployment rate was a structural problem to do with a slowing economy in transition.
“This is not the time to punish people who find themselves unable to secure paid work, for example through the current proposal to introduce a four week waiting period for people to access basic income support,” she said.
“Instead, we need a national economic growth and employment plan that provides pathways for the people being left behind during this transition. In developing such a plan, we need to move beyond ideology and look at the evidence of what works to get people back to work.
“Work for the Dole programs are not effective in improving people’s job prospects because the work is usually far removed from standard workplaces – and to the extent that people are expected to undertake ‘normal’ work, they should be paid properly.
“The money being invested in this scheme would be better spent ensuring the new Jobactive employment service providers are able to invest in wage subsidies in regular jobs, vocational training, and other supports for people who are unemployed long term.”