Ballarat businesses wary of many applications for few jobs

BALLARAT businesses are not looking forward to the increased number of job applications that will come in the door once new federal government rules for job seekers come in next year.

Under the plan, Newstart recipients will have to apply for 40 jobs every month. 

Alex Thels, from Collins Booksellers in Bridge Mall, said it won’t mean better employment rates. 

“You can apply for 100 jobs a month – the jobs have to be there,” he said. 

Mr Thels said even if the work was there, it was obvious people were handing out CVs to make up their numbers. 

“They usually come in in the morning. We’ll get a call from Centrelink confirming they came in later on,” he said. 

The changes, including a revamped ‘work for the dole’ scheme, will arrive in July 2015. 

Assistant Employment Minister Luke Hartsuyker told Fairfax Media taxpayers expected the unemployed to be looking for work, and that it was “not unreasonable to expect job seekers to be out there looking for work, every working day”.

Ballarat MP Catherine King said young people would be hit hard, as the requirements still applied to those who had to wait six months to get on Newstart. 

“This government should focus on creating new jobs, not burdening young people with arbitrary application requirements. Forcing someone who is receiving absolutely no government support to apply for 40 jobs every four weeks is counter-productive, cruel and unnecessary,” she said.

People under the age of 30 are also in line for the most community service under the plan, doing 25 hours a week of community service six months of the year. 

Commerce Ballarat chair Andrew Rowan, who discussed the measures with member businesses this week, said it could be valuable for young people, but only if they were picking up useful experience. 

“Work for the dole means people are out doing something. From a business perspective, if they do acquire skills along the way, that’s a good a thing,” he said.

Off Ya Tree manager Warren Loorham spent a year looking for work in his previous field – disability support – before broadening his search. 

Despite the experience of looking “outside the box”, he said an a mandatory increase in applications would not help job seekers find work. 

“People will just go into Centrelink and print off a whole lot (of CVs) and hand them out,” he said.

alex.hamer@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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