OUR SAY: Government's new employment policy needs more work

BEFORE Assistant Employment Minister Luke Hartsuyker goes any further with plans to make young job seekers apply for 40 jobs a month he should set out to do it himself.

Not with the assistance of his parliamentary staff, nor the office staff in his north coast electorate office, but all by himself.

And he should send out his resume and 40 different covering letters in reply to 40 job vacancies while doing 15 hours of voluntary work a week at a soup kitchen in his electorate.

The Abbott government clearly thinks it is on a winner with voters when it wields its big stick with the unemployed and others on welfare payments and many in the community would approve.

However, it is pointless to introduce measures like this unless your real intention is simply to disqualify the jobless, and particularly young unemployed, from any welfare payments.

If that is what the Abbott government wants to do the end result will be a lot like welfare in the United States. Australians will have to get used to seeing unemployed people sleeping in their cars or queuing round public buildings like railway stations as night falls looking for somewhere to sleep.

It should be obvious to Mr Hartsuyker or indeed the Employment Minister Eric Abetz that the only way an unemployed person would have any hope of complying with such a requirement would be to email out job applications to anyone and everyone.

The result would be employers being inundated with unsolicited emails they will simply bin. In smaller cities and regional communities where the pool of possible employers is small the idea makes even less sense.

It would be far better to set realistic minimum standards for job search activity and help the unemployed prepare well-targeted job applications for vacancies that actually exist while they study for vocational qualifications at TAFE.

There are several welcome changes in the Coalition’s employment policy, including wage subsidies, but their sincerity is undermined by utterly unrealistic policies such as this.


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