Over half a million people have been suspended from Centrelink payments for not trying hard enough to land a job – but Anglicare Australia’s Jobs Availability Snapshot shows that the jobs just aren't there.
Released today, the Snapshot measures how many jobs are available for people who don't have qualifications or work experience. It found that:
- One in seven jobseekers has barriers to work (for example, older workers who lost their jobs later in life, people with disabilities, young people who haven't finished year 12)
- They spend an average of five years looking for work
- Across Australia, at least five of these jobseekers are competing for each job at their skill level
- These jobs are drying up. They made up just 10 percent of vacancies this year, down from 22 percent that were available when records began in 2006.
- On top of that, 1.16 million people are underemployed. They could also be competing for these jobs.
Anglicare Australia Executive Director Kasy Chambers said punishing people was not getting them into work:
“Our system is failing those who need the most help to find work. These might be people with disabilities, who didn’t finish year 12, or older workers who lost their jobs later in life. Our research shows that at least five of these jobseekers are competing for each job at their level.
“There aren’t enough jobs at this skill level to meet demand in any part of the country. The situation is toughest in SA and Tasmania. In SA, nine of these jobseekers are competing for each suitable job. And in Tasmania, a staggering fourteen jobseekers are competing for each one of these jobs.
“Centrelink and the Jobactive Network have suspended payments for over 580,000 people for not trying hard enough to land a job. But our research shows the jobs just aren’t there.”
Ms Chambers said that the Jobactive Network was failing those who need help.
“By any measure the Jobactive Network is failing. It’s taking an average of five years to find work for those who need the most help. It is also punishing them for no reason. Many who are cut off from payments by their provider are later found to have done nothing wrong.
“If we’re serious about helping people, we need to create jobs that match their skills – instead of forcing them to compete for jobs that just aren’t there.
“We need to fix the broken Jobactive Network. Private providers shouldn’t be paid to punish and breach people. Instead, they should be offering training that’s actually linked to work – and supporting people to stay in work once they find it.
“And we need to raise the rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance. Nobody should be trapped in poverty while they look for work.
“These changes are urgent. If we don’t fix this broken system, we will go on forcing people to compete for jobs that simply do not exist.”