Hardworking Aussies have long been footing the bill for “dole bludgers” who cheat our welfare system. Now the government is set to overhaul the Newstart Allowance scheme, closing one gaping loophole.
Until now, Newstart recipients have been able to refuse work by requesting a special “waiver”. This form allows people to reject a job and continue receiving welfare payments for another eight weeks.
Some of the jobs turned down by these “welfare cheats” have offered over $27 an hour. The excuses written on their waiver forms will make you sick, too!
One man said he’d rather play golf than participate in paid work, whilst a young woman refused to get out of bed for “less than $20 an hour”.
Another woman complained the office she’d been recruited too “smelt funny”, whilst a young man said he’d rather follow his “dreams of becoming an actor” than work.
A separate proviso of this waiver means that welfare recipients also need to participate in a few hours casual employment each week, as part of work-for-the-dole conditions.
This means that “welfare cheats” are turning down full-time roles, to just work sporadically. One 23-year-old man told the Department of Human Services he “already worked 3 hours each day”, and extra time would “make him tired”.
Astonishingly, this loophole in the Newstart Allowance scheme is costing tax-payers and pensioners a whopping $7.5 billion each year! Employment Minister Michaelia Cash said this should change soon.
“There are loopholes in the system that are allowing some to get away with making insufficient or inadequate job search efforts without good reason”, Ms Cash said.
“This must be stopped – this is what the government is trying to address”.
“Australia’s income support system is there as a safety net for people who genuinely cannot find a job – not as an option for those who refuse to work”, she added.
“Australians who pay taxes to fund our welfare system expect there to be safeguards to ensure that those who can work do work”.