Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Young people, welfare, housing and work

The Federal Government's Budget proposal to deny social security payments for 26 weeks to young people out of work is in breach of human rights, says the Federal Parliament's Joint Committee on Human Rights. The Australian Council of Social Services and the Australian Youth Affairs Coalition agree, and so do we.

On the other side of the argument, the Social Security Minister has justified the denial of payments as 'a measure to address youth unemployment by encouraging young people to accept jobs rather than relying on income support at the risk of becoming disengaged – both socially and economically', while another Government member thinks that young people 'in this space' would just spend those payments on cheezels and video games.

The 26-week no-payment period poses a greater threat to young people's social and economic engagement and employment prospects than MSG-laden extruded cheese snacks.

The 26-week no-payment period means young people out of work wont be able to pay their rents. That's bad news for young people out of work – and bad news for young people in work, because landlords and agent will see them as a riskier proposition, and will be less inclined to rent to them.

We were speaking last week with a regional TAAS advocate, who despaired of the 26-week no-payment proposal for just this reason. She explained that in the far-flung catchment of her service, there are some towns with very high rates of youth unemployment and no jobs going, and other towns where the unemployment rate is lower, and jobs can be found. To get a job, those unemployed youths will have to move towns – and they'll need somewhere to live. As the advocate said:

If they're lucky, those boys might be able to line up a job, but if they cannot line up somewhere to rent, they can't take the job up!
 Damage young people's housing prospects, and you damage their mobility and hence their employment prospects. The 26-week no-payment period does this and should not proceed. 

1 comment:

  1. Well put comments Chris.
    In our local area jobs for youth are not easy to come by and even with unemployment my children in their 20's have had to come home as they can not afford rent and other committments made whilst working. ofcourse, once they are home their unemployment elligibility goes right down because Mum has a job and can support them....
    why do people assume unemployment is a choice? funding cancelation, owner bankruptcy and employment of visa holders subsidised byt the government are just some of the reasons my children and their partners have been out of work. Not one of my children have quit a job.


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