MEMBER for Mallee Andrew Broad has slammed part of a Federal Government scheme that will force jobseekers to apply for 40 jobs a month.
Mr Broad said the obligation was ridiculous and too high.
“I think the idea that people would have to apply for 40 jobs is counter-productive to employment,” he said.
“If we want people to get a job they need the right applications.
“Putting a number like 40 on that – there’s only 30 days in a month for goodness sake – is counter-productive.”
The Mail-Times revealed last month that Wimmera jobseekers under 30 would have to apply for 40 jobs a month – the same as people living in metropolitan areas.
Mr Broad said he supported rural and regional areas having the same requirements as people in larger cities.
“Obligations need to be the same wherever you are, but the obligations need to be realistic and I don’t think anyone thinks it’s fair or conducive to more employment to have to apply for 40 jobs,” he said.
“It needs to be the same because we don’t want to create attractiveness for people who want to avoid obligations to move.
“Just because you’re applying for jobs doesn’t mean you’re applying for jobs where you live – people move for work.”
Mr Broad defended many of the changes to laws for jobseekers, arguing the government was acting to get more people into work.
“There’s a lot of the good in the jobseeker laws that aren’t being explained,” he said.
“We have to help people transition from not having a job to having a job.”
Mr Broad said research showed there would be many exceptions to people under 30 going without benefits provided they were engaged in education and training.
Job seekers without mitigating circumstances will be ineligible for welfare payments for six months after applying for benefits.
“The idea behind that six months is to tell a person who chooses to drop out of high school when they’re 16 that they can’t just drop out and walk around to Centrelink and get benefits,” Mr Broad said.
“We want people to be working or involved in training.”
Mr Broad said he backed the Work for the Dole program, provided it was done properly.
“When people have been unemployed long-term it’s important that they get up and attend the workplace to get in that rhythm of what it is to go to work every day,” he said.
“If you still haven’t been successful throughout that six months in getting a job, after that there is a subsidy that will be made available to employers to encourage them to employ you.”
Jobseekers under 30 will be required to work for the dole for 25 hours a week.
Those under 50 will undertake 15 hours a week and those under 60 will be asked to complete an approved activity for 15 hours a week.
The new rules come into effect on July 1, 2015.
It is the second time Mr Broad has disagreed with a budget measure after he spoke in parliament against raising the retirement age from 65 to 70.