A pair of young welfare recipients from Sydney’s west risk being stripped of their benefits after publicly refusing a job offer from McDonalds, following an intervention from Treasurer Scott Morrison.
The young women — Ashleigh, 21, and Amy 17 — were last week featured in local media saying they were happily jobless and were uninterested in work.
“I would tell you it’s hard to get a job but to be honest I don’t even try. Centrelink pays my rent and that’s all I need,” Ashleigh told The Daily Telegraph
The duo were subsequently offered jobs at McDonalds but, according to the newspaper, turned the offer down.
Mr Morrison, interviewed today by broadcaster Ray Hadley, said he would raise the status of their welfare benefits with Social Services Minister Christian Porter.
Hadley told the minister: “It’s simply a matter of going out there and saying: ‘here they are, they’ve identified themselves, it’s our belief they never wish to work — good, they’re entitled not to work, but get them off whatever Centrelink payment they’re on tomorrow’ because I guarantee today those same two girls are still drawing money on the public purse.”
The Treasurer said: “Leave it with me. I’ll have a chat with Christian.”
Mr Morrison said he was optimistic of winning crossbenchers’ support for a law forcing the unemployed to wait four weeks before accessing dole payments.
“There’s a whole range of exemptions that protect very vulnerable people, but for those who are ready and able to work, we’re saying there should be a mandatory waiting time before you can go on the dole,” he said.
“What we found in New Zealand is when these waiting periods were put in time then people went and got jobs.”
Mr Porter plans to use a speech to the National Press Club today to warn that the data shows the existing welfare system is not making life any better for too many Australians caught in lifetime welfare.
Jenny Macklin, the opposition social services spokeswoman, acknowledged there were “some positive reports” out of New Zealand but said the government needed to “invest” in the unemployed to get them into work.
“There are some positive reports but there are also some examples of where the New Zealand government too has cut, and left people with nothing to live on and of course that is not going to help them get in to work,” Ms Macklin told ABC radio.
“Cutting benefits for young people and leaving them with nothing to live on is not investing in them. Cutting great organisations like Reclink is not investment in some of our young people who are living on the street.”
Media : The Australian Newspaper
Posted: Jared Owens