Incentives to get people off the dole, and on the move

Tony Abbott is pitching to the longterm unemployed in his new initiative. AAP/Alan Porritt

Long term unemployed young people could receive up to $6500 if they held down a job for two years, under an initiative announced by Tony Abbott today.

Under a job commitment bonus payment people aged 18 to 30 who had been unemployed for at least a year and were on Newstart or Youth Allowance would receive $2,500 if they got a job and stayed off welfare for a continuous 12 months.

A further $4,000 would be provided if the person remained in a job and off welfare for a continuous 24 months.

Bonus payments would be paid directly to the employee at the end of the 12 and 24 months.

The opposition says the policy would boost workforce participation and productivity, helping the economy to grow.

A Coalition government would also introduce new measures to help connect unemployed jobseekers with jobs.

It would offer up to $6,000 for long term unemployed jobseekers who moved to a regional area to take up a job, or $3,000 if they moved to a metropolitan area.

This relocation assistance would only be available to long-term unemployed jobseekers who had been on Newstart or Youth Allowance for more than 12 months.

Families with dependent children would be provided with an extra $3,000 to help cover the additional costs of relocation.

Payments would be made, in advance if necessary, to meet the actual costs of relocation, including up to two months’ rent in advance.

Abbott said: “These are sensible, targeted measures to help get people off welfare and into work. More the than 140,000 Australians have been unemployed for more than 12 months. If elected, we will take real action to get them into work.”

Meanwhile Kevin Rudd, in a speech today to the Lowy Institute, will outline Labor’s next steps in modernising the Navy.

There has been a long standing debate about the need to relocate some assets from the south of our nation to northern centres, including Brisbane, Townsville, Cairns and Darwin.

Most of our naval resources are now based in Fleet Base East, at Garden Island, and at Fleet Base West, in Perth.

Last year’s Defence White Paper and the Force Posture Review said that strategic factors were weighted towards moving Defence assets to the north and the north-west.

They also said that in the long term, the nation should consider that an alternative location to the north, on the east coast, might offer operational advantage by being closer to Army units and operational areas.

Rudd will outline his thinking, including the next stage for acting on the White Paper.