Social services minister Anne Ruston has declared that “everybody” on Newstart should be able to get a job with the right assistance, as new figures show some unemployment hotspots are getting worse across the country. Source: The Guardian.
Declaring she would not be “defeatist” about the job prospects of Australia’s hardcore unemployed, Ms Ruston said she was confident help could be provided to get people into work.
“I think we need to deal with this on a case-by-case basis because I genuinely believe that everybody who is on Newstart with the right amount of assistance, we can help them into a job,” she told ABC radio.
She pointed to an individual placement support program that had helped 500 young people who had been suffering from significant mental health conditions to get work as an example of how barriers to employment could be overcome.
The comments come after The Guardian revealed the number of people claiming Newstart had increased in about 10 per cent of areas across the country despite a national improvement, with remote Indigenous communities among the hardest hit.
Figures released by the Coalition on Sunday showed 42,000 fewer people were receiving Newstart and Youth Allowance in 2018-19 compared with the year before, equivalent to a drop of 5 per cent, with the government using the figures to push back against calls to lift the benefit.
But the data shows that the results are patchy across the country.
In about 10 per cent of geographic areas the number of people claiming the benefit has increased, with remote unemployment hotspots among those getting worse in the past year.
The release of the figures comes as the government pushes back against growing calls for the Newstart payment of about $275 a week to be lifted.
Welfare and business groups, with backing from the Greens and Labor, have been calling for the rate of Newstart to be lifted, but Prime Minister Scott Morrison has ruled it out, saying his focus is on finding jobs for the unemployed.