The way those who are out of work are treated by the Department of Human Services and its Centrelink has long been disgraceful and crooked. Disgraceful, because of the absence of any sense of human compassion. Crooked, because the system has been turned into a trough to milk money out of the misery of others.
A good example is the Youth Jobs Prepare Trial Hire (PaTH) program, which was introduced in the 2016 and launched in April the following year.
Thousands of young people who were thrust into the government’s youth internship program had their welfare payments suspended consequently. This is revealed in the government’s own documents.
About 120,000 young unemployed 17 to 20 year-olds were put to work for employers who often paid very little, did not train them, sometimes put them in danger, and paid as little as little as $4 per hour, on top of their welfare payments.
The controversial Youth Jobs Prepare Trial Hire (PaTH) program was introduced in the 2016 federal budget and launched in April 2017. Under the rules, they must volunteer to do this work for four to twelve weeks.
The sting is that they can’t complain if they are being mistreated. If they do not turn up to work for any reason, or are reported by the employer, for not having the right attitude, they are cut off from most of their income. This is a recipe for abuse.
Nor have the so-called internships resulted in any change in the securing of permanent work. They have proved to be revolving door, providing a cheap labour source for unscrupulous employers.
Applicants have been forced to go through stringent employment suitability tests via the job network. Many of them are meaningless and provide easy money to the private providers of the service. Applicants who do not turn up have their income cut off.
Only about 9,000 of those who have gone through the program have been able to find a job within 6 months of registering with it. This falls within the number that would have been expected to find a job without the program.
The government has spent $840.3 million on this. Where has it gone? Much of it to subsidise employers, without properly checking on what they give to the young worker put in their care. This does not mean only small employers.
Hungry Jack’s came under fire, for its participation in the PaTH program. By the end of last October, 20 organisations had been found by the Department of Employment to have not met the requirements.