Work for the Dole Abuses

Unemployed workers are forced to do all sorts of unfair and unsafe Work for the Dole activities, and are ridiculed and humiliated while they do them.

This page is a way to collect all these stories. If you have an experience, please email us on or post it below.

Story #1

“Afternoon I’m new here and just have a question regarding wftd. I waked on mine after four days since I was ridiculed and demeaned whenever possible and insulted before I finished what little I was asked to do this morning and left. I called my jsa and she said I need wait for her manager to be in so I can do a statement however I’m extremely worried centrelink will be stopped since I walked. Is that legal if I do get cut since I left before I broke and with what little dignity I had?? I live alone and my home is the home my kids come to during holidays its hard enough to survive I can’t risk not getting paid even just once. Thank you for allowing me to rant.”


  1. The WFD host I attend (have been for about 12 weeks now) is not too bad, though things have been up and down… I started in one activity, which I hated.. but was since moved to a data entry anf admin role…since then the team leader (volunteer) has encouraged me and others in the same role to “go onto the floor and speak to people because that’s what admin do so they know what’s going on”– I made friends in my old “department” , but am now responsible for a different one– today we were told that we were not allowed to go onto the floor unless it was to check attendance, and were are no longer to speak to people who are not in our department…. ergo I’m not allowed to speak to the friends I made over the first 7 or 8 weeks, thus cancelling any opportunity to network or “become/receive a reference” from them. I feel it was unnecessary because there are very few people attending during our shift and it contradicts the “family ethos” that the host organisation tries to exhibit. Additionally, some of the friends already think I was moved because I was “promoted”, not being allowed to speak to them is likely to make them think that I am ignoring them and being a snob because of my role change ??

  2. Attention everone recenty i was placed into a wfd activity which was ok basicly just painting a gymnasium, the superviors on that project were good but that activity stoped after 2 months I had completed I was risk assessment prior and even trained in manual handeling.Now I’ve been placed into a new wfd that is renovating a old house without been risk assessed which i have to attend for another 6 months and the supervior there is basically a slave driver and non safety compliant the second day I attended on the site he instructed me to remove soil to install paving which having a short look i FOUND ASBESTOS so i refused to work in that area.The day before I removed some material from that area and NOW there is a possibility of ME being EXPOSED to ASBESTOS I put in a incident report with my supervisor who did not belive it was ASBESTOS so He collected the ASBESTOS material and took it to a ASBESTOS MANAGEMENT CENTER with me to doubt my belief that it was.The managemet center CONFIRMED THAT IT IS ASBESTOS AND ALSO WILL BE TESTED FOR GRADE and the dwelling was on the abestos register but all asbestos was supposed to have been removed and there was a warning sticker on the window of the wfd house which my supervisor removed which stated before comencing work on site refer to ASBESTOS REGISTER which he did not . I Have also contacted SAFE WORK SA who will be investigating the incident and I will pursuit to my best abilities I will relay they outcome of my situation as the investigation goes on so BEWARE any one who has to attend WFD and basicly forced to do any unsafe work or in unsafe working conditions to avoid being cut off from centrelink benifits.

  3. I was on a WFD where it was part training and part WFD, we basically went around painting schools and one payday out of a group of 15, i stayed behind to strip down the scaffolding by myself, because everyone else was waiting around the front gate ready to go home, it was payday!
    the supervisor was busy getting all the paint in the storage room and noticed no one was helping, I told the supervisor that I would be contacting centrelink and would not be in for the rest of the week!
    Yeah Jobseekers are just cheap labour for Charity organisations, some of whom are also Job Active Providers. I guess if the staff demerit enough jobseekers and get them in financial hardship or even worse homeless!

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