Australia’s Employment Minister, Stuart Robert, has urged the unemployed to get off the dole and go out and get a job as employers struggle to fill vacancies across Australia. There is currently 1.23 million people receiving Unemployment benefits in Australia which is 400,000 more than before the Covid 19 pandemic struck last year.
Job websites are offering thousands of roles but many businesses have seen a substantial drop in the number of applicants. The minister said ‘You just can’t sit on the JobSeeker payment and expect your neighbours to cover that lifestyle.’
More than 54,000 jobs are available in regional Australia mainly at pubs, cafes and farms but they are not being filled despite the government’s $6,000 relocation payment.
Mr Robert said he has heard from business owners in Queensland’s Hervey Bay who are struggling to find workers even though the town’s unemployment rate is 8.5 per cent, well above the national 5.6 per cent figure.
Also in Queensland the owners of The Burke and Wills Roadhouse in Four Ways, an Outback town 1,500km from Brisbane said they might have to close because they are close to being ‘burnt out’ after a boom in business but not being able to recruit enough employees
Farmers have reported being unable to employ people to pick fruit and vegetables in the regions so the government is also stamping visas for Pacific Islanders to come to Australia and pick fruit and vegetables amid a huge worker shortage caused by Covid border rules keeping out backpackers.
But Mr Robert has urged Australians to take up these roles too. ‘Why have we got to a point where we’re happy for Australians to say ”no you don’t have to do those jobs, we’ll get someone from overseas. You just stay on benefits”,’ he said
The Minister also defended a new reporting line dubbed “DobSeeker” where employers can dob in JobSeekers who turn down a role. He urged Australians to get back to work saying “if you’re going to turn up fully intend to work”
“Seek training if you need it as there are 300,000 extra subsidised courses now available. We want to give you every opportunity to train or re-skill and we want you to start working”.
From April 1, the JobSeeker rate was increased by $50 a fortnight to $620.80 but the requirements to claim were tightened to stipulate that recipients must search for at least 15 jobs per month.
Queensland currently has the most available job advertisements on SEEK across Australia, with 35,500 vacant positions.