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Today's quote:

Monday, December 12, 2016

The news that never makes the news

 

Tens of thousands of Australians have rejected job offers so they can stay on generous taxpayer-funded welfare payments without turning up to work.

The Turnbull government has revealed that there are more than 35,000 Australians ­living the life of Riley, knocking back job offers or quitting a new role to go back on the dole.

Human Services Minister Alan Tudge said there are areas where business owners can’t find workers to do entry-level jobs, like fruit picking or working in an abattoir, but unemployment is high.

Mr Tudge also said there were “whole regions where as many people receive their income from welfare as from a job”. For instance, about half the people aged 18 and over in the NSW electorates of Cowper and Blaxland receive welfare payments. This includes suburbs like Coffs Harbour, Auburn and Regents Park.

“We are fortunate to have a strong social security system for when people are down on their luck, but it must be a safety net, not a destination,” Mr Tudge said. In the year to October 2016, there were 35,576 occasions when welfare-dependent Australians who were perfectly capable of working refused to take or hold down a suitable job.

Some refused a job offer outright. Others accepted the job but never turned up.

More than 22,000 quit their new job without a good reason to go back on unemployment payments.

And another 10,000 were sacked from their new job for serious misconduct, such as theft, assault or harassment of colleagues or customers, or unauthorised absences from work.

At $160 billion, the cost of welfare makes up a third of all government expenditure. Ahead of the May budget, the Turnbull government is looking at ways to rein in the spend, which is exploding by 6 per cent a year.

Australia’s welfare system, crucial to save struggling families from poverty, is being abused by a section of the population.

The government has started to analyse where the problem areas are and how many people capable of working are refusing to accept jobs.

It’s a problem that prominent indigenous leader Noel Pearson has described as the “welfare pedestal”, where people see no ­financial incentive to get a job.

Only one in five dole bludgers were penalised by Centrelink, the rest getting off scot-free despite the law stating that those who refuse to work should have their welfare payments docked.

Projections show that more than 100,000 jobs will open up in the aged, disability and child care sector over the next few years.

However, advice to government is that it will be ­difficult to transition those on welfare payments into these jobs.

Mr Tudge said while Australians rightly expect government assistance to find a job, they are required to take up a job when one is on offer.

There are concerns in the Turnbull government about intergenerational welfare, where entire generations, from grandparent to newborns will spend their lives on handouts, stuck in the welfare cycle.

Thanks to the Daily Telegraph who brought this to our attention but, of course, we already knew it except that nobody dared to talk about those 'poor, disadvantaged people' who are rorting the system.