Unemployed to work for dole under new laws

LONG-TERM unemployed locals will be forced to clean the streets, sweep the parks and tidy up nursing homes under new federal laws.

Under changes to the government's Welfare to Work program, anyone who has completed two rounds of an intensive job seeking workshop and hasn't found a job will be forced into full-time work for the dole.

Under the previous Labor government the program was reserved for people who had been unemployed for two years or longer and had been deliberately avoiding employment.

Tidy Towns committee chair Pat Cox welcomed the policy so long as the workers could be correctly supervised and incentivised.

"There are so many community projects which could be carried out by people looking to improve their wellbeing, contribution to the community and work skills, so they could achieve really significant outcomes here in Griffith," Cr Cox said.

"We have lots of areas that need cleaning up but there needs to be something more positive for the long-term unemployed to give them a sense of achievement.

"Being unemployed is not generally someone's preference, they just haven't found a job suited to their skills and where they live, but there are lots of community initiatives that could benefit from extra labour."

Cr Cox said while an expanded work for the dole scheme would be good for the community, the detail would determine its viability.

"It seems a good idea in principle but I wonder about who takes the responsibility for monitoring and supervision of the workers," she said.

"If community groups are given all the responsibility it can create an impost on the organisation.

"Under the Howard government's work for the dole scheme, projects at Lake Wyangan and tree-planting along Macarthur Street were very successful, so it can certainly work well as long as it is implemented properly."

WELFARE SHAKE-UP: Long-term unemployed will need to work for the dole under new laws.

WELFARE SHAKE-UP: Long-term unemployed will need to work for the dole under new laws.


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