Wrangling over youth employment solutions

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Wrangling over youth employment solutions

The Coalition has proposed ‘job commitment bonuses’ to long-term unemployed young Australians who get and keep a job, while Labor has warned that the scheme would encourage, not discourage, people from looking for work.

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The Coalition has proposed ‘job commitment bonuses’ to long-term unemployed young Australians who get and keep a job, while Labor has warned that the scheme would encourage, not discourage, people from looking for work.
 
Under the proposed scheme, Australians aged 18 to 30 who have been unemployed for at least 12 months and are on Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance will receive a $2500 payment if they secure a job and stay off welfare for 12 months. If they stay in the job for 24 months, they will receive a further $4000, with both payments paid directly to employees by Centrelink.
 
At the same time, the Coalition announced a relocation assistance package for long-term unemployed people regardless of age, providing up to $6000 for job-seekers who move to a regional area to take up a job or $3000 for those moving to metropolitan areas (people relocating between or within capital cities won’t be eligible).
 
If those jobseekers have dependent children, they will receive an extra $3000 to cover relocation costs.
 
The Coalition claims the $75 million program, along with earlier announced initiatives, will result in one million new jobs over the next five years and two million over the next decade.
 
Labor: policy a disincentive
 
Within hours of the policy being announced, Labor Minister for Employment Participation Kate Ellis put out a release calling the scheme ‘cynical and poorly targeted’, predicting that it would lead to unemployed youth to wait for a year before looking for a job in order to receive the bonus.
 
She pointed out that relocation assistance is already offered under current legislation, while employers are offered wage subsidies to hire the long-term unemployed that nearly match the employee payments proposed under the Coalition scheme.
 
CFMEU: 457 rules a solution
 
Meanwhile, the Construction Forestry Mining and Energy Union (CFMEU) has weighed into the debate by declaring that evidence is already showing that the recent changes to the 457 visa program for overseas workers are addressing the problem of youth unemployment in Australia.
 
A report from Monash University’s Centre for Population and Urban Research released this week shows that job opportunities for young Australians have been shrinking in proportion to the increase in Working Holiday Maker visas over the past few years.
 
‘The Monash report vindicates the government’s 457 legislation passed in June 2013 giving Australian workers more protections in the 457 visa program,’ said CFMEU Assistant Secretary Dave Noonan.
 
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