Welfare cut for those who don't turn up
Proposed new laws are aimed at getting more job-seekers to turn up to their appointments with providers.
“In 2013-14, 12.75 million compulsory appointments with employment providers were scheduled and, of these, 4.47 million were not attended by job seekers," Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker said this week.
To tighten the rules, he has introduced the Social Services and Other Legislation Amendment (Strengthening Job Seeker Compliance) Bill.
The Bill hopes to increase attendance by cutting off payments for those who fail to turn up, until such time as they present at a meeting.
“The sheer volume of missed appointments creates a huge red-tape burden for our employment providers and adds to their costs,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
"Instead of helping people with their job search, frontline staff end up wasting time trying to contact the job seeker to reschedule and in filling in forms to report the non-attendance.
“From 1 January 2015, if a job seeker fails to attend an appointment without a reasonable excuse, their income support will be suspended until they actually attend the next appointment.
“From 1 July 2015, if a job seeker has had their income-support payment suspended for failing to attend a regular appointment with their employment provider - and they have no reasonable excuse for that failure to attend - then they will not be back paid for the period of non-compliance.
“This provides a much stronger incentive for job seekers to either attend their scheduled appointment in the first place or to pick up the phone ahead of time, explain why they are unable to attend and, where it reasonable, get the appointment changed,” he said.
The Bill is now up for debate in the House of Representatives.