Work for the Dole under 30 'hit list' released

May 28, 2014
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Do you live in outer western Sydney, Cairns, Bundaberg, Geelong or Northern Adelaide? Watch out – your area is being targeted by the government’s new Work for the Dole program for under 30s.

The government’s initial list, revealed this morning ahead of a formal announcement today, features 18 areas across the country with high rates of youth unemployment, such as NSW’s Central Coast and Victoria’s second largest city, Geelong.

In a list published by, Abbott’s crackdown on youth unemployment will include six places in NSW, five in Queensland and four in Victoria, with the remaining three spots in South Australia, Western Australia and Tasmania.

The government’s re-introduction of compulsory Work For The Dole in the last federal budget will impact welfare recipients between the ages of 18 and 30, who will need to work 25 hours a week after a year on Newstart or Youth Allowance.

“All Australians who are capable of working should be working – ideally for a wage, but if not for the dole,” said the Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker in

The scheme is expected to kick in from July 1, pending Senate approval of the federal budget. Work for the Dole is already utilised in Australia, but is just one option that Centrelink recipients can pick in order to meet welfare requirements.

The scheme currently involves things like packing boxes through to working in homeless shelters. The updated program will likely involve jobs in local councils, government agencies, not for profits and religious organisations.

According to, the 18 locations were picked based on their less than promising rates of unemployment – as high as 9.2 per cent on Queensland’s Fraser Coast – and significant number of job seekers.

Hartsuyker said Australian youth could “significantly benefit” from the new scheme because they’ll “gain the skills and experience they need to move from welfare to work and make a positive contribution to their local community”.

A former Newstart recipient and resident of Launceston – one of the towns on the hit list – told Hijacked that mandatory Work for the Dole placements might overlook a better solution for young job seekers.

“When I was unemployed, the [mandatory skills] activity I was required to do was a short course in improving my resume, which was actually beneficial and probably better than a mandatory placement,” said the now Melbourne-based uni student.

The 26-year-old student said the new Work for the Dole program may help make young job seekers more employable, but this mightn’t make much of a difference in a place with few jobs like Launceston, where unemployment sits at almost 9 per cent.

“In areas like Launceston, it seems like there is actually a lack of jobs for people to fill. [The job agency] said it takes most people a year in Launceston to find paid work.”

This announcement follows a few weeks of tough news for unemployed young people, as well as students and recent graduates staring down the barrel of joblessness, as reported by Hijacked’s ongoing series, The Hires and Lows.

The Work for the Dole target list

1. Fairfield, Liverpool (NSW)

2. Nepean, Outer Western Sydney (including Blue Mountains NSW)

3. Central Coast (NSW)

4. Shoalhaven (NSW)

5. Richmond, Tweed, Clarence Valley (including Ballina and Byron Bay NSW)

6. Coffs Harbour, Macleay, Hastings (NSW)

7. Bundaberg (Qld)

8. Fraser Coast (Qld)

9. Outer North Brisbane (Qld)

10. Cairns (Qld)

11. Logan (Qld)

12. Westgate (north west Melbourne Vic)

13. Goulburn Valley (Vic)

14. Peninsula (south eastern Melbourne Vic)

15. Geelong (Vic)

16. Central and West Metro (south West Perth WA)

17. Northern Adelaide, Gawler (SA)

18. West and North West, Launceston (Tas)

Kristen Daly

Image: Kristen Daly