House debates

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Questions without Notice

Work for the Dole

3:00 pm

Photo of Louise MarkusLouise Markus (Macquarie, Liberal Party) Share this | | Hansard source

My question is to the Assistant Minister for Employment. Will the minister update the House on the Work for the Dole program in my electorate of Macquarie and elsewhere? How is Work for the Dole supporting job seekers and communities?

Photo of Luke HartsuykerLuke Hartsuyker (Cowper, National Party, Assistant Minister for Employment) Share this | | Hansard source

I thank the member for her question. I can update the House on the Work for the Dole program in the electorate of Macquarie. I was pleased to visit the electorate with the good member recently. As the House is aware, the government's phase 1 of Work for the Dole is rolling out in 18 selected locations around the country, offering Work for the Dole placements to young people aged between 18 and 30 who have been unemployed for 12 months or longer.

I am pleased to advise the House that we visited the Richmond Club organisation in the good member's electorate and saw an innovative Work for the Dole scheme that was benefiting job seekers and giving them new skills. I can advise that, at that particular place, we saw Work for the Dole participants involved in a range of activities such as administration, IT, greenkeeping on the club's bowling greens and golf course, and general maintenance—a wide range of activities that are helping young job seekers move from welfare to work. I know the House will be delighted to hear that a number of job seekers have moved from welfare into work as a result of their placement at the Richmond Club. Also in the good member's electorate, we visited Katoomba and the great Blue Mountains walking trail, a new project just beginning with the support of the Blue Mountains City Council. It is a great project, allowing young people to learn new skills.

Recently I went with the member for Lindsay to visit a St Vincent de Paul store where job seekers were learning skills in retailing and warehousing. I visited the member for Forde and saw in his electorate the Twin Rivers Centre where people were learning hospitality skills, IT skills and general maintenance skills.

Work for the Dole is a great program. It offers young people the opportunity to learn new skills that will assist them on the pathway from welfare into work. Regrettably, as I get round the country, employers are telling me that many young people lack the very basic skills needed to get by in the workforce—simple skills such as turning up on time, being appropriately presented and knowing how to present themselves in the workplace. These are skills that people in the workforce, who have been in the workforce for a long period of time, take for granted; but regrettably, some young people lack those skills.

Work for the Dole is a great program. It gives young people skills. It allows them to demonstrate to a potential future employer the benefits they can bring to that employer's business, and it allows young people to give back to the community. We are all in support of Work for the Dole on this side of the House. I wish members opposite would support Work for the Dole with the same vigour.