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buried budget cuts « Previous | |Next »
May 19, 2005

The cartoon captures the way the Howard Government's welfare-to-work package is going to impact heavily on those who are sick or disabled. They are being directed into low paid unskilled work.The implication is that the policy is not one of fairness or justice.

True, the Job Network agencies will gain an extra $516 million in funding to help the disabled, single mums and mature aged unemployed prepare for work. However, there is also the ($490 million) cuts to the funding of the Job Network agencies. The effect of the Treasury's cost saving is to make it harder for unemployed people to gain access to resources that would enable them to overcome the barriers to finding work.

Rodney Clement

The historically underfunded Job Network agencies are also facing requirements that they--not CentreLink---suspend welfare payments to people deemed to be "shirking" their obligations to find a job. What will they do when the contracts come to be renewed?

The implication?

The privatisation of the delivery and surveillance of welfare. Laura Tingle, writing in Tuesday's Australian Financial Review, says the assessment of work capacity of the unemployed and disabled would be outsourced: put out to tender to private sector agencies not to comonwealth agencies. Once the work and health assessments are done Centrelink would use the assessment to determine a job seekers obligation and support payment.

Does the federal government still have a welfare department? It does look as if it has been whittled away.

Another implication is that around 40,000 people will go onto Newstart rather than the Disability Pension and Single Parent Pension after July 2006.That will impact on unskilled labour market when the deregulation of the industrial relations system will put downward pressure on the minimium wage. So we have a pool of cheap labor for the lower pay for unskilled work.

Who is to regulate this? Well the powers of the Australian Industrial Relations Commission to regulate and make rules on the basic working conditions and minimum wages is going to be removed.

| Posted by Gary Sauer-Thompson at 2:01 PM | | Comments (0)