Senator Michaelia Cash says the system is designed to make the process of finding a job easier. Picture: Kym Smith
Senator Michaelia Cash says the system is designed to make the process of finding a job easier. Picture: Kym Smith

New warnings all too real for dole bludgers

JOB snobs and bludgers who refuse to apply for work will have amber and red traffic light colours flash on their phones to warn they are about to lose their welfare payments.

In a major shake-up starting today, jobseekers face a demerit point system which is supported by a new Job Seeker app. It will provide constant reminders about meeting their obligations. The dashboard will use strong visual and written warnings.

The no-more excuses plan, will use traffic light colours to show whether the job seeker is in the green (fully compliant) zone; the amber (warning) zone; or red (penalty) zone.

Under the new system, if job seekers fail to attend interviews or apply for a required number of jobs, they will likely lose their Newstart payment. It will be reinstated once obligations are met.

If they have no reasonable excuse for failing to meet requirements, a demerit point will be added to their record.

Senator Michaelia Cash says the system is designed to make the process of finding a job easier. Picture: Kym Smith
Senator Michaelia Cash says the system is designed to make the process of finding a job easier. Picture: Kym Smith

If five demerit points are clocked up within six months, backpay will be withheld, even if they turn-up for interviews or apply for work.

If requirements are met for three months, demerit points will return to zero.

The amber indicator will show demerit points and how far to go to the red or penalty zone. Serious failures such as blatantly refusing to work, means immediate loss of payment for four weeks.

The system will be managed by jobseekers, who will self-report and confirm they have met their requirements, and overseen by job active provider.

Jobs Minister Michaelia Cash said the system was designed to make the process of finding a job easier.

"The new framework is fairer because it recognises that the majority of job seekers do the right thing and should therefore not receive financial penalties,'' Senator Cash said.

"It will, however, penalise those who exploit the welfare system by wilfully and repeatedly gaming the rules in order to receive income support payments. This system will reinforce the rights and obligations of both government and those seeking assistance."



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