"Work for the Dole" sham exposed
It has been previously established through numerous studies that the Work for the Dole scheme provides no benefit to the unemployed. A shocking new report has found Work for the Dole actively harms participants, who are more likely to remain unemployed six months after completion than those who did not participate. On its Centrelink website the Government says, "Work for the Dole is about helping job seekers improve their employment prospects by providing opportunities for work experience". Yet indicators to date show this to be a cruel lie. Damning report The latest and most thorough report — Does 'Work for the Dole' work? — was commissioned by the Government from the Melbourne Institute in a bid to stem criticism. However, when the report was delivered in June this year the findings were so damning that the Government suppressed its release. The report outlines Work for the Dole's fundamental flaws: the unemployed did not develop skills; there was no training offered; the program was not targeted at finding employment; and the program is not linked to continuing employment. Unemployed people were further hampered by the fact they had less time to look for work, and the stigma attached to the Work for the Dole scheme made them less attractive to employers. "The study provides strong support for our view that 'Work for the Dole' is a cruel hoax that fails to truly help jobseekers", said Andrew McCallum, President of the Australian Council of Social Services. "It is no wonder there are still 360,000 people long-term registered as unemployed with Centrelink — about the same as in March 1996 when this Government came to office." Employment Services Minister Mal Brough dismissed the Report as "outdated and narrow". Yet at the same time the Minister was forced to concede the Government's own research showed that less than seven percent of Work for the Dole graduates found full-time employment. The author of the report, Professor Borland, defended his work, saying, "Our results remain highly consistent with the international literature on these types of programs". The Howard Government has spent $500 million since its introduction in 1997, with a further $178 million to be spent in the current financial year. System of punishment Work for the Dole is in reality a system of punishment and discouragement. The unemployed are punished for claiming unemployment benefit. The threat of Work for the Dole forces the unemployed to accept sub-standard jobs, as they reason "It is better to work for below-award wages than to work 36 hours per week for $290 unemployment benefits". The long-term unemployed, discouraged by the fact that they have been through the program and still not found work will be more likely to forgo the dole altogether than suffer another three- month stint of slave labour. Then, when the official unemployment rate drops, the Government is able to claim success for its unemployment policies.