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Unemployed Australians Caught in Cycle of Job Services

Unemployed Australians are being “churned” through a system that isn’t delivering jobs while becoming increasingly punitive for jobseekers.

In a new report, Anglicare has called for an overhaul of a “failing” employment system.

It says Australia’s social security system was placing more obligations and conditions on people seeking work, while simultaneously reducing the support it offers them to secure employment.

Key findings included people out of work were spending an average of five years looking for jobs, and while most of these people needed entry-level jobs, those were disappearing.

It says government strategies ignored these people and focused on short courses and mutual obligation instead of building long-term skills.

Anglicare Australia acting Executive Director Maiy Azize said people were being churned through the system without getting the help they need.

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“They are running a gauntlet of interviews, reporting, and training courses that aren’t leading to work,” Ms. Azize said.

“Private providers are being paid millions of dollars to run this system without delivering results.”

In 2023, there were 48 job seekers for every entry-level job, according to the report.

It found a disconnect between public commentary about the nation’s low unemployment rate and the lived experience of thousands of Australians who continue to struggle with finding and retaining work.

“With people left behind on low payments that come with draconian conditions and little real help to find security,” the report reads.

“The current Australian approach to social security is distinguished by an emphasis on obligations and compulsion … and compared with European countries, a very low level of financial investment in income payments.”

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