January 30, 2023
The Australian government is keen to increase immigration and special work visas to fix a claimed labour shortage.
According to recently published data, Australia has 450,000 job vacancies we can't fill.
Yet these job vacancies could easily be filled from within Australia with some adjustment to our welfare system.
We currently have about 500,000 people claiming unemployment benefits. Many of these unemployed people would be working if benefit eligibility was changed.
We shouldn't be paying unemployment by benefits to school leavers and university graduates with little or no tax paying employment history.
In addition any unemployed who refuse jobs they are physically capable of doing, or who refuse to relocate within reason to follow work opportunities, should not be entitled to tax payer funded unemployment benefits.
Unemployment benefits should be considered a safety net, not something which provides a comfortable lifestyle for some.
To discourage long term unemployed, the level of benefits should be reduced over time. We should make life on unemployment benefits less comfortable the longer a person is in receipt of this welfare. There needs to be a disincentive to long term unemployment. This may require increasing the initial level of unemployment benefits to produce a sliding scale to a lower level after 6 months.
We have about 2.6 million recipients of a full or part Aged Pension. Just 3% of those Aged Pensioners are in any paid employment.
$300 per fortnight of earned income is not counted towards the aged pension income test, above which their aged pension is reduced by 50 cents on the dollar.
Many more than 3% would be prepared to work casually or part-time if the punitive income test was removed or at least relaxed.
In New Zealand where the income test doesn't apply to earned income, 25% of aged pensioners have paid employment. If Australia achieved a similar figure that would add 572,000 people to the work force.
There's absolutely no need to boost Australia's immigration numbers just to fill the labour shortage. Boosting immigration puts pressure on housing, education, welfare, health, transport and other services.Tim adds:
This makes me think of the old '90's show Seinfeld where Kramer comes up with the idea of running rickshaws in New York City. Who will pull them? He decides to hire homeless people "they know the city and they have nothing to do all day anyway."
While this was done for comic purposes the fact is Kramer's reasoning was sound in that the homeless are, in many cases, perfectly able to work and should be working for their livelihood. (Granted, in the episode the homeless guy they hire steals their rickshaw.)
There exists a culture of dependency that is created and nourished by the welfare system that provides something to parasiticism. There is plenty of labor available - it just requires making people want to take jobs they have no reason to take now that there is so much to be had from living off the dole.
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