COSBOA considers the increase in Newstart/JobSeeker by $50 a fortnight to be too low. COSBOA also notes there are many jobs that remain vacant due to a lack of applicants.
Peter Strong, CEO of COSBOA, stated today “we believe that JobSeeker should have a bigger increase, no doubt. We need to allow unemployed people to be in the right headspace to apply for jobs and/or seek training, and an additional $25 per week just isn't enough to live on. You're not going to be in the right headspace to make major changes to your life if you're worried about being able to afford groceries and other basic living expenses."
Mr Strong added "we also hear frequently from our members that small businesses are having trouble recruiting staff due to a lack of applicants. This is true for independent supermarkets, service stations, restaurants and cafes, taxi drivers, and more. We need to confront this real issue, but we need to confront it in a compassionate way."
COSBOA members are on the streets and in the suburbs, they are at the coal face of community. They know that unemployed people can be problematic but they know that most want jobs and need support to do so.
Mr Strong added "we need to provide the skills and in some cases the attitude to job seekers that they need to get back into work. Placed based support, place based training and individual support where needed will get people into jobs. Talking to industry, designing training and listening are important to managing change.”
Mr Strong also added “there are two further issues that cannot be ignored. Firstly, with any payment comes rules. Any employed person has rules to follow if they wish to get paid. The same applies to government support payments: there must be rules and if those rules are not followed (and of course there must be due diligence, support and compassion), then people lose the right to be paid."
"Secondly, many of the groups and people who are complaining about the low increase in JobSeeker are also against changes to the workplace relations system - changes necessary to remove risk for employers and create opportunity for job seekers. That is plain hypocrisy.”