In Parliament on October 14, Independent Member for Indi, Cathy McGowan AO, stood up for unemployed people in rural areas. Ms McGowan voted against the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Further Strengthening Job Seeker Compliance) Bill 2015.
While the Bill passed the House of Representatives and will now go to the Senate, Ms McGowan said she was proud to stand up for the unemployed, particularly young people in Indi and regional Australia.
“People without a job need Government support. Requirements in this Bill have the potential to place greater stress on people and push them into further hardship,” Ms McGowan said.
Ms McGowan said young people needed Government assistance and cutting support payments does not fix the problem of unemployment.
“High unemployment in Indi, including the youth unemployment annual rate at 17.7 per cent, means finding a job, and meeting job seeker guidelines, is more difficult than in metropolitan areas,” Ms McGowan said.
“The Government needs to help get more young people into work, particularly in regional Australia. This needs a plan, looking at many factors.”
The amended Bill allows:
- A job seeker’s participation payment to be suspended when a job seeker fails to participate in an activity without a reasonable excuse from the instalment period in which the failure is not determined in the following fortnight
- A job seeker’s participation payment to be suspended immediately when a job seeker fails to undertake adequate job search efforts without reasonable excuse.
- Job seekers who fail to accept work will no longer be able to have their penalty waived by undertaking additional activities even if this would cause financial hardship
- all failures resulting in the short-term financial penalties and suspensions to be renamed as no-show no-pay failures
- no discretion to waive the eight-week non-payment penalty