On Budget night the Turnbull Government declared they were “refocusing” their failing Work for the Dole program.
But Senate Estimates this week has been able to translate what the word “refocus” means: less money, fewer places and still unsafe.
Estimates hearings confirmed it has cut $148 million from the program.
The government admitted their forecasts for Work for the Dole places have dropped from 150,000 places per year in the 2014 Budget to just 65,000 in this year’s Budget.
Dropping the number of places in Work for the Dole is simply a dodgy statistical trick to make the program look like it is performing better than it did previously.
This is how the government plans to do this:
Over the life of Work for the Dole since 2015 until December 2016 only 17,125 people out of 133,646 got full time or part time work – an 83 per cent failure rate.
What happens if you have the same number of people getting jobs but with fewer overall places?
You get a higher percentage outcome.
This is unbelievably cynical game playing by the Turnbull Government.
You might think they’re making changes to improve the abysmal rates of employment for Work for the Dole participants – where almost 90 per cent of people still don’t have full time jobs three months after participating.
When asked how their “refocus” would help improve job outcomes, the Department was having none of it:
“I don’t know that we expected these measures to increase the outcomes so much as to simplify the program.”
Renee Leon, Secretary, Department of Employment, 29 May 2017
This is just dodgy game-playing at the expense of the jobless – just another example in a long list that shows the Turnbull Government is all talk and no substance when it comes to supporting Australian jobseekers.
Work for the Dole isn’t getting safer either. During Estimates the government said:
- They wouldn’t release its report into the death of a young Work for the Dole participant back in April 2016;
- They hadn’t penalised a Work for the Dole host that exposed a participant to asbestos; and,
- They weren’t worried that an audit said 36 per cent of sites weren’t safe enough.
Before the Budget was released Fairfax Media reported that the Turnbull Government’s Expenditure Review Committee was considering cutting the program.
Employment Minister Michaelia Cash leapt to the defence of the failing program, saying the Turnbull Government had “reinvigorated” Work for the Dole.
But the evidence doesn’t back up that claim. They’re making cuts, reducing places and aren’t committed to improving job outcomes.