JobActive agencies are abusing unemployed people and must be stopped

Contributed from Victoria

Something’s got to be done about the jobActive agencies and their exploitation of the unemployed.

An article in The Saturday Paper revealed that $500 million in public money was handed over to them during the corona lockdown.

To do what? To find jobs during a time when people were being sent home from work? This obviously isn’t what they were doing. They were enforcing the system that punishes those who Centrelink sends to them.

JobActive agencies were still setting up loops to cause incidents where payments could be cut off. The yet paid for doing this.

One example of their abusive behaviour involves Sue, who was caring for her murdered sister’s children and couldn’t attend an arranged appointment. This was not considered a good enough excuse. Her payments were cut off.

Unemployed going to these agencies have even been forced to accept unpaid work. You cannot even refuse work that puts you in physical danger. The pressure was supposed to have been taken off during the lockdown. It wasn’t because agencies continued to abuse the system.

Now that they have been given the green light again, an astonishing 340,000 people have had their payments stopped since 28 September, and the scene is set for many more to suffer the same fate in the months ahead.

Photo by Mick Tsikas/AAP

Helping people towards a job was once provided the government’s agency. But when there was a shift towards punishing the unemployed, this work went to private providers, which was a good way to shield the government from accusations of mistreatment.

The privatised system based on payment for heads, short and cheap training courses, plus getting names off the list, was tailor made for corrupt abuse.

The Australian Unemployed Workers Union (AUWU) has been organising its people to boycott the worst offenders by applying to go someone else. The idea is that this will send a massage to providers to lift their game or it will hit their hip pocket.

Some of the worst offenders are MAX Solutions, which got a $1.21 billion tender before Covid-19m, and Sarina Russo Job Access. They got $606 million. APM got $606 million

GetUp is running an online petition to pressure politicians to stand up for the unemployed and put an end to the funding of the JobActive agencies.

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