The number of people on unemployment benefits has dropped to at least a 20-year low, the Daily Telegraph reports, but is determined to push on with drug-testing of dole recipients.
The report says that the Coalition had managed to cut the number of people on the dole over the past three years by 140,000 to 2.4 million through offering wage subsidies to employers who gave long-term jobs to older and indigenous workers, long-term unemployed workers and parents.
The subsidy program, worth $7.3 billion in total, has meant half of those taken off the dole were aged under 25 and had been on unemployment benefits for a number of years. The newspaper says that Australia’s currently in its longest-run ever of employment growth, having clocked up 16 straight months of jobs creation.
But the Coalition hasn’t given up on hopes of introducing drug testing for dole recipients, with the Daily Telegraph reporting that the government would again attempt to have the plan passed as law, after it was defeated in the senate in December.
The pilot would involve 5,000 people being forced to submit to drug testing in three locations. Those that failed would have their benefits delivered in the form of a card that could only buy food and childcare and pay rent.
A Newspoll conducted by The Australian in August found that two out of three voters polled supported the drug testing program, with even the majority Labor and Greens voters in favour. Labor leader Bill Shorten had opposed drug testing, calling it an attempt to demonise dole recipients.