There are fears Australia’s welfare system won’t cope with an influx of unemployed people when job hunting requirements restart. Source: SBS News.
Mutual obligation requirements such as job interviews will begin again next Tuesday after being suspended during the coronavirus pandemic due to strict social distancing rules and health concerns.
Social Services Minister Anne Ruston has framed the return as gradual. Welfare recipients won’t be penalised for failing to meet any conditions during the initial period.
Greens senator Rachel Siewert wants obligations to be suspended for six months.
She is concerned the system won’t meet the needs of the huge number of jobseekers.
“We know we have a very large number of people who are unemployed, underemployed and not currently engaged in the labour market, many of whom will be engaging with job service providers and having to deal with mutual obligations for the first time,” she said.
“This will put a lot of pressure on a system that is already not fit for purpose and I am not confident the system is prepared for this influx.”
Almost 600,000 Australians lost their jobs in April amid coronavirus restrictions
Senator Ruston says newly unemployed people who are fresh to the system will be the focus of the initial restart.
“It’s a very light touch return to initial obligations,” she told ABC Radio yesterday.
“We just want to start getting people used to the idea of engaging with the workforce because as jobs become available we want to make sure that we’ve got the best possible chance of matching up people into those jobs as soon as they’re created.”