February 22, 2016
BYLINE: EXCLUSIVE: DANIEL MEERS
SECTION: NEWS; Pg. 1
LENGTH: 279 words
A LOOPHOLE in the nation’s $7.5 billion welfare system is letting dole bludgers turn down good job offers without incurring a penalty that was originally designed to suspend their payments for eight weeks every time they did it.
The lazy bludgers are rejecting jobs because “shifts fall on their golf day” or they don’t want “to work hard” or “the office smelt funny”, according to secret documents from the Department of Human Services that have been obtained by The Daily Telegraph.
Newstart Allowance recipients are refusing jobs that pay as much as $27 an hour and are then -successfully requesting a “waiver” so they don’t incur the eight-week -welfare ban.
The waiver allows them to reject a job and continue to receive the dole if they add on a small work-for-the-dole component to their -program.
Last financial year at least 1412 penalties were applied for refusing to accept a job to 1276 job seekers, but only 378 were actually served.
Employment Minister Mic-haelia Cash said yesterday there was a bill before the Senate to ban the waiver loophole but it had stalled.
“There are loopholes in the system that are allowing some to get away with making insufficient or inadequate job search efforts without good reason,” she said.
“This must be stopped.” Ms Cash said the $150 billion annual welfare bill should only be used for those who desperately needed assistance.
“Australia’s income support system is there as a safety net for people who genuinely cannot find a job – not as an option for those who refuse to work,” she said.
“Australians who pay taxes to fund our welfare system expect there to be safeguards to ensure that those who can work do work.”