The Work for the Dole program is a “sham”, putting young job seekers in unsafe and potentially deadly situations, say unions, lawyers and the family of a teenager who was killed on a Queensland worksite two years ago, ABC News reports.
They are calling on the Federal Government to scrap the program, also known as ‘Jobactive’, which has been in place in various iterations since 1996.
The Department of Jobs and Small Business said it taught jobseekers skills while helping them “increase confidence”, “meet new people”, and “make contacts who can be a referee” when applying for work.
But lawyers familiar with the program said it was “punitive” and “mind-numbing”, and said it left job-seekers in risky situations without adequate insurance and other protections.
Melbourne solicitor David Beattie, who represented several jobseekers injured while on placement, said Work for the Dole was a sham and needed to be scrapped.
“I’ve never met anybody who said they’ve picked up any skills on it,” he told The Signal.
“It’s often just really mindless weeding or whatever, and it’s very rare that you’ll get any induction or any training.
“It’s definitely not meaningful, and I think it’s more about punishment than getting people into rehabilitation or them getting new skills.”
Two years ago, 18-year-old jobseeker Josh Park-Fing was killed while on a Work for the Dole placement at a showground in Toowoomba, in southern Queensland.
Josh’s father, Iain Park, said his son was just finding his feet as an adult when he took the placement, and said his son had raised safety concerns with him about his work placement the day he died.