Work-for-the-dole to see 40,000 in regions forced to sign up

ABOUT 40,000 young unemployed residents of regional areas with high jobless rates will be forced on to the Abbott government's Work for the Dole scheme from July.

The new program, announced by Assistant Employment Minister Luke Hartsuyker on Wednesday, will force unemployed people on to the program in 18 regional areas.

Residents of Bundaberg, the Fraser Coast and Logan in Brisbane and towns all over northern New South Wales are on the hit list.

Young unemployed living in Richmond, Tweed, the Clarence Valley, Ballina, Byron Bay and Coffs Harbour will be among those affected.

But while the government has confirmed up to 40,000 young unemployed Australians will be affected, Mr Hartsuyker's office was unable to say how many people in each region will be forced onto the program.

The $15 million program will move people who have been claiming Youth Allowance or Newstart for more than 12 months, aged 18 to 30 years old, on to the program.

But if those affected fail to attend their allocated Work for the Dole programs, their government payments will be docked, at a rate of one tenth of the fortnightly payment for each day they do not participate.

The "payment suspension", Mr Hartsuyker's spokesman confirmed, would be lifted "when the job seeker agrees to a reconnection appointment".

Mr Hartsuyker said the focus on areas of high unemployment was the "first phase" of the return of the Howard-era program, with areas in West Australia, South Australia and Tasmania also affected.

But the program is separate to previously-announced programs that will stop long unemployed people (who sign on after January 1 next year), getting payments for six months if they can't find work.

NSW and QLD REGIONS AFFECTED:

  • Fairfield, Liverpool (NSW)
  • Nepean, Outer Western Sydney (including Blue Mountains NSW)
  • Central Coast (NSW)
  • Shoalhaven (NSW)
  • Richmond, Tweed, Clarence Valley (including Ballina and Byron Bay NSW)
  • Coffs Harbour, Macleay, Hastings (NSW)
  • Bundaberg (Qld)
  • Fraser Coast (Qld)
  • Outer North Brisbane (Qld)
  • Cairns (Qld)
  • Logan (Qld)


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