Question Time – Work for the Dole

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Mr PITT(Hinkler) (14:50): My question is to the Assistant Minister for Employment. Will the minister update the House on the progress of the government’s plans to rebuild Work for the Dole?

Mr HARTSUYKER (Cowper—Deputy Leader of the House and Assistant Minister for Employment) (14:51): I thank the member for his question and may I commend the member for Hinkler as a member who understands the importance of job creation in his electorate and understands the benefits that work for the dole can provide to young job seekers. I can advise the House that today I announced details of the government’s arrangements for the first phase of our rollout of a revamped Work for the Dole program, which will offer to young job seekers aged 18 to 30 who have been unemployed for over 12 months the opportunity to participate in the Work for the Dole program. Phase 1 will be rolled out in some 18 selected areas around the country and will deliver to many young job seekers the types of experience which will assist them in getting a job and becoming more competitive in the job market.

Work for the Dole also has the added benefit of delivering excellent outcomes in the community—delivering community projects that might not be possible if it was not for the labour resources that Work for the Dole can bring. Work for the Dole is a program that is supported right around the country. Let me quote the words of the former Mayor of Hervey Bay and now member for Hervey Bay, Ted Sorensen. Mr Sorensen said:

When I was mayor of Hervey Bay, Work for the Dole participants helped build the footpaths and walkways along our picturesque Esplanade. It built self-confidence and gave participants a sense of achievement. Many of the participants gained long-term employment—

Madam Speaker, gained long-term employment—

as a direct result of their involvement in this program.

Ted Sorensen understands the importance and the value of Work for the Dole. The Australian people understand the value of Work for the Dole. The coalition is committed. We are committed to creating opportunities for young people.

Mr Albanese interjecting

The SPEAKER: You have been warned, member for Grayndler.

Mr HARTSUYKER: That is why we have a range of programs including the job commitment bonus, relocation assistance and, for those people living in Tasmania, our Tasmanian jobs plan. But the most important thing we can do for young job seekers is to build a strong economy because nothing creates more jobs than a strong economy. It is a shame that the members opposite sit in the way; they just continue to sit there in the way of the budget measures that we wish to implement. Let me say: young Australians are right to be disappointed with the members of the opposition.

Mr Shorten interjecting

The SPEAKER: The Leader of the Opposition will desist.

Mr HARTSUYKER: On their watch, youth unemployment increased by 55,000. On their watch, the youth unemployment rate increased by almost 3 per cent. The coalition are focused on getting young people into work. The members opposite are just standing in the way.

The SPEAKER: Before I call the honourable Leader of the Opposition, I would say to him that the term he used towards the minister was unparliamentary. You are always insisting that people be addressed by their proper names; I would ask you to withdraw.

Mr Shorten: I withdraw.

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