JobSeeker scheme needs a refocus

JOBS: Mr Dametto has had farmers, tradies, café owners and retailers struggle to find people willing to work.

THE Federal Government’s JobSeeker program needs to be better targeted in order to encourage people back into the local workforce, says Hinchinbrook MP Nick Dametto.

Mr Dametto said his office had fielded several calls from frustrated small business owners who were at their wits’ end in trying to find staff, with owners blaming the supplement that JobSeeker provided individuals on top regular government income support for their predicament.

“We all know that JobSeeker was necessary at the start of this pandemic with so many businesses forced to close under State and Federal Government COVID-19 restrictions. As most of the country rolls into the recovery phase, we find ourselves in a different situation now,” he said.

“It’s time the government took a look at this scheme again and found ways to better target it to recipients in areas only affected by job losses due to COVID-19.”

Mr Dametto said the Federal government should fine tune the scheme on a “case-by-case” basis in areas where there was high demand for workers.

“JobSeeker is still very necessary for certain parts of Australia where work is hard to find due to COVID-19. But from what I’m hearing on the ground, Hinchinbrook is not one of those areas,” he said.

“I have had farmers, tradies, café owners and retailers contact my office with the same problem: they can’t find people willing to work.

“The jobs are there but when you have this supplemental income, I can see why it removes incentive from people who are able to work.”

Mr Dametto acknowledged there would always be “exceptional circumstances” for certain JobSeeker recipients to remain on the scheme but called on the government to get “as many people as they could” working again.

“Everyone knows JobSeeker was not designed to last forever. When you’ve got business and industry crying out for workers, the government needs to respond in a measured and practical way,” he said.

Nick Dametto MP