Contributed by Ugly
On Wednesday 19 April, the Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union observed commemorations around Australia to mark a year since the death of Josh Park-Fing, who died form an accident, after being put to work in a dangerous situation.
Josh was sent to his death, by being forced into a work for the dole scheme and pushed to do work he was not qualified to do. A recent government report found that 36% of Work for the Dole sites do not meet basic safety standards.
In addition to putting individuals in physical danger, work for the dole programs do not provide a path into employment. In a 90-page academic evaluation (2015) of the program by the Australian National University’s Social Research Centre concluded that participation had little effect on the prospect of finding a job.
There are very good reasons for this. The program does not increase the quantity of available jobs. Nor does it provide proper skills training, a problem compounded by poor supervision of what occurs in the workplace. The programs are short-term with no organised link into the workforce.
However, work for the dole does contribute to the hoops and pressure put on individuals, and this in turn, leads to a larger number being denied Centrelink payments than would otherwise be the case. Given that work for the dole is imposed on those under 30, putting them in a situation where they have no income, is certain to breed anger and recruits into a lifestyle of crime. Our young need hope and a helping hand in times of difficulty. They don’t need to be pilloried.
Work for the dole provides a source of cheap labour for uncaring employers. Participants are often made to carry out menial tasks. Because of lack of experience and departmental supervision, many don’t know how to respond and where to turn to, when they are abused.
Josh Park-Fing was put in this position. How many more victims will there be before work for the dole is finally ended?