Young people will be forced to study or work for the dole under changes to the eligibility criteria by the government.
New job seekers under 30 now have to wait up to six months before receiving unemployment benefits and will then have to do at least 25 hours of Work for the Dole activities.
This new program will force job seekers aged between 18 and 30 years old who have been unemployed and receiving payments for 12 months to do 15 hours per week to put effort into finding a job.
“We sell our young people short if we allow them to drift into welfare dependency,” said the minister for employment, Eric Abetz.
“The new Work for the Dole program will help young job seekers gain the skills and experience they need to move from welfare to work as soon as possible, while also making a positive contribution to their local community.”
These changes have been met with criticism from some students.
University student Sandy Nguyen, 20, has been unemployed for three months and is struggling to find a job while studying.
“I have been looking for a job for three months and haven’t found anything. I need one that is flexible with the hours because I have classes,” Ms Nguyen said.
“I’m studying but I want to work and earn my own money to be independent,” she said.
Recent graduate Aaron Samuels lives alone and is also struggling to find a job and support himself.
“I only just graduated last December and have been trying to find a job ever since. I live on my own because my parents live overseas so I need to support myself somehow,” Mr Samuels said.
“I don’t like this change because now I have to wait six months to be eligible for the Newstart Allowance. How am I supposed to pay my bills and get what I need till then?” he said.
The Work for the Dole program will be phased in from July. – Vishnavi Kulenthirarasa
Top photo from David Jackmanson’s Flickr photostream.