Scott Morrison Says Unemployed Aussies Should Have Centrelink Stripped If They Don't Take A Job
Australia’s Prime Minister has hit out against unemployed Aussies who are refusing to relocate to take up a job.
Scott Morrison reckons these people should have their Centrelink benefits withdrawn if they don’t take one of the 54,000 jobs on offer in pubs, farms and cafes in regional Australia.
Speaking at The Australian Financial Review Business Summit in Sydney, the PM said that despite the $6,000 relocation payment offered by the government, Aussies didn’t seem to want to jump on the various fruit picking, farming, and cafe jobs in these areas.
“Unemployed Australians are simply and regrettably not filling these jobs,” the Prime Minister said. “This is a fair exchange.
“If there is a job available, and you are able to do that job, then it is reasonable for taxpayers to expect that it will be taken up, rather than continue to receive benefits.”
Due to the pandemic, backpackers have been unable to enter the country and take on jobs like fruit picking, which Mr Morrison said could lead to a surplus of wasted unpicked fruit and higher prices.
Back in June last year, Morrison made the same complaints about Centrelink applicants, saying they weren’t accepting jobs due to the ‘higher level of payment’ on Jobseeker.
“We are getting a lot of anecdotal feedback from small businesses, even large businesses,” he told 2GB radio at the time.
“Some of them are finding it hard to get people to come and take the shifts because they’re on these higher levels of payment.”
During Tuesday’s Summit, Morrison also added that another option to combat the lack of workers in regional Australia could be some form of conditional visas for temporary migrants in order to ‘fill the gap’.
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“We have tried in the past to first get Australians into these jobs, but having tried to do that with any number of incentives,” Morrison said.
“It has been incredibly difficult and we have to call it as it is. When Australians won’t do the jobs, the jobs still need to be done.
“I can’t have horticulturists ploughing their produce back into their fields because they can’t get the workers.
“We must relook at the role that temporary visa holders play in meeting our economy’s workforce requirements, where Australians do not fill these jobs,” he said.
It comes as changes are being made to JobSeeker requirements in April, which will now require recipients to apply for 15 jobs a month. That requirement will rise to 20 jobs a month from July as the payment permanently increases by $50 a fortnight to $620.80.