Fraser Coast among first to get work for dole program

THE Fraser Coast will among the first regions to have a work for the dole program introduced by the Federal Government.

Areas of high unemployment, including Bundaberg, are on the Abbott government's hit list for the scheme.

Under changes announced in the federal budget, from July 1 next year everyone aged 18 to 30 on Newstart Allowance or the Youth Allowance will be required to under 25 hours of work a week.

Minister for Employment Eric Abetz and Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker have announced $14.9 million over two years from 2013-14 to phase in the program from July this year.

Jobseekers who have been unemployed for 12 months or more and receiving taxpayer-funded assistance from a Job Services Australia provider will be required to do Work for the Dole for around 15 hours per week for six months unless they are working part-time.

The new rules will apply in selected areas across Australia for the next twelve months before an expansion of the programfrom 1 July 2015.

"We sell our young people short if we allow them to drift into welfare dependency," Minister Abetz said.

"The Abbott Government believes that everyone who is capable of working should be working, ideally for a wage - but if not, for the dole. It is important that people receiving taxpayer-funded benefits recognise their mutual obligation to contribute to the community in return. Active involvement in Work for the Dole will also assist young people's overall physical and mental health.''

The rollout areas include the central coast of NSW, Richmond, Tweed and Clarence Valley (including Ballina and Byron Bay), Coffs Harbour, Bundaberg, Fraser Coast, outer north Brisbane, Logan, and other areas of high unemployment in Victoria, Western Australia and South Australia.

Mr Hartsuyker said Work for the Dole will help job seekers demonstrate the skills and attitudes that employers look for in candidates.

"Work for the Dole provides jobseekers with structure and support in a work-like setting while they are looking for a job," he said.

"Participants can learn a range of new skills while also demonstrating positive work behaviours such as punctuality, teamwork and commitment."

New Work for the Dole co-ordinators will be employed to work with Job Services Australia providers and community-based organisations to secure Work for the Dole placements.

The coordinators will serve as the first point of contact for organisations wishing to offer Work for the Dole positions and will help employment service providers match jobseekers with placements.

This will minimise the red tape for Job Services Australia providers and host organisations.

A tender to select the new Work for the Dole co-ordinators for 2014-15 will be undertaken shortly.

The new rules will apply to new income support recipients with a full work capacity and who are not in education or a part-time apprenticeship. Alternative arrangements will apply to job seekers with a partial work capacity, significant barriers to employment or parent carer responsibilities.

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