Jan 13, 2003

Work for the dole makes it harder for the unemployed to get a job


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 13 January 2003

Instead of spending millions of taxpayers’ dollars each year on promotional material and dinners, the Government must overhaul the Work for the Dole program to ensure that it does not continue to stigmatise the unemployed making it harder for them to find work.

This is the conclusion of research undertaken by the University of New South Wales and reported in today’s Australian newspaper.

The UNSW research found the ‘work for the dole’ tag harmed the employment prospects of the unemployed and concluded that the program should be renamed.

Specifically, the unemployed “noticed it, they feel it and it makes it hard for people to get a job”. Organisations offering Work for the Dole projects also “hate it”.

The research also found that too little formal training is being provided to participants. It is not surprising then that only 1 in 10 Work for the Dole participants successfully secure full-time employment at the completion of the program.

Last week Labor revealed that the Government has spend $6.15 million since July 1999 on Work for the Dole promotional material, including $144,724 on an annual dinner.

Many genuine training opportunities could have been bought for the unemployed with the $6.15 million the Government has wasted on promotional material.

Instead of spending more than $6 million telling the community how wonderful their Work for the Dole program is, it is about time the Government listen to the concerns of those who actually have to deliver the program as well as those who are meant to benefit from it.

While Labor is committed to the principle of mutual obligation, we do not support the stigmatising of the unemployed which characterises the Government’s current Work for the Dole program.