more “incentive to work”.
Costello said last night;
“… from July 1, 2006, a person capable of part-time work will no longer be entitled to a disability pension if they are capable of working more than 15 hours a week at award wages.”
Right. So this is a campaign to force people from the Disability Support Pension (DSP) into the labour force.
“The object of these changes is to protect the genuinely disabled but to encourage those capable of part-time work to look for it.”
So … those who are deemed to be capable of part time work are not “genuinely” disabled. Right.
Did the Treasurer know there has already been a pilot study to engage DSP recipients with Job Network Providers, to encourage them to find jobs?*
As the Productivity Commission noted,
“Participation was voluntary, so that the pilot program probably attracted people with lower inherent barriers to work. For example, participans in the pilot were less likely to be aged 59 or more years and to have been on DSP for 10 years or more than the general population of DSP recipients”. (emphasis added)
That is, we have a sample population that is biased towards positive outcomes in this study.
The PC goes on to summarise the outcomes of the pilot study;
“Of the 1100 people initially considered for the pilot, around 500 did not ultimately participate or subsequently exited (because they declined to participate further, often due to poor health, or were found to be not eligible or suitable). Of the stayers, 59 per cent remained unemployed (around 10 times the average unemployment rate), 38 per cent got jobs and the small remainder entered educational courses. Of the successful job seekers, most got casual jobs (42 per cent) or part-time jobs (34 per cent), with only 24 per cent getting full time non-casual jobs. This contrasts with the economy as a whole, where the respective employment shares in these work categories are 28 per cent, 11.8 per cent and 60.6 per cent respectively.”
Hardly a raging success, but this pilot was deemed sufficient justification to force people from the DSP into the labour force. Where they are, in all likelhood, going to be ten times more likely to be unemployed (and receiving Newstart) than the labour force as a whole.
If the same proportions observed in the pilot are realised following the implementation of this cut to DSP, 60 percent of those forced into the labour force will simply have their income cut by $76 dollars per fortnight (as they go from DSP to Newstart).
As Costello said today; “We see this as helping people to better their lives.”
* The pilot study was conducted by the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and the interim report can be found here.