Federal Budget 2016: Investment in young people and jobs a welcome measure
The government’s rhetoric has moved from young people as dole bludgers and a drain on the welfare system to young people as a resource for the future. The Centre for Multicultural Youth is pleased to see this shift towards creating real work opportunities through paid work experience and internships, writes CMY CEO, Carmel Guerra.
The Budget Youth Employment Package consists of two new components: self-employment and Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare - Trial - Hire) - as well as a reformed work for the dole program.
Youth Jobs PaTH will include:
- Industry‑endorsed pre‑employment training (Prepare) — from 1 April 2017, training for up to six weeks will be provided to develop basic employability skills, including those required to identify and secure sustainable employment
- Internship placements of up to twelve weeks (Trial) — from 1 April 2017, up to 30,000 internship placements will be offered each year to enable businesses and job seekers to trial their employment fit. Job seekers will receive a $200 fortnightly incentive payment and businesses will receive $1,000 up front to host an intern. Placements will be voluntary and will be organised by employment services providers. Job seekers must be registered with jobactive, Disability Employment Services or Transition to Work, and have been in contact with employment services for at least six months to be eligible for the internship program
- Youth Bonus wage subsidies (Hire) - from 1 January 2017, employers will receive a wage subsidy of up to $10,000 for job seekers (under 25 years old who are facing barriers to employment) and will continue to receive up to $6,500 for the most job‑ready job seekers.
A combination of paid work experience and wage subsidies for employers is what communities and young people have been advocating for. Unlike Work for the Dole, this approach will give young people the means to live while getting crucial work experience to take with them into the future. CMY calls for close monitoring to ensure this paid work experience translates into real jobs.
The changes to Work for the Dole recognise the failure of this program to address the underlying causes of youth unemployment. Most job-ready job seekers will be required to enter Work for the Dole after 12 months of participation in jobactive, instead of the current six months. However, of ongoing concern is the one month waiting period for income support for young people. We urge that this punitive and unnecessary measure be removed.
CMY recognises that given the changing world of work and the emergence of new industries, the Budget’s youth entrepreneurship initiative will also go some way to creating new forms of employment for young people who have a drive to create their own futures.
Further reform to welfare support will also see a three-year trial to provide targeted support and priority access to education, housing, employment services, legal services, and health assessments. This move will see young people better supported as they move from out-of-home care into adulthood.
We are pleased to see a continued commitment of $10 million to social cohesion initiatives and believe that creating and supporting ongoing employment for newly arrived communities is a crucial component of maintaining this cohesion.
Jobs and employment generation are drivers for Australia’s economic growth and the Government’s positive focus on young people in this year’s Budget is well overdue.
CMY looks forward to seeing more detail of these initiatives to ensure that the most vulnerable - including migrant and refugee young people - are prioritised in their delivery.
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