Media Release

Unemployed aren’t dole bludgers, they’re being failed by red tape

Workways CEO, Kieren Kearney has told a Federal inquiry into Workforce Australia that long-term unemployed Australians are not dole bludgers but red tape and forcing providers to be the ‘bad cop’ was failing to assist people into work.


Providing evidence to the inquiry in Brisbane, Workways Australia CEO Kieren Kearney said over the last two decades of employment services, the focus had drifted away from tailoring support for the long-term unemployed.


“There’s always commentary around the long-term unemployed being ‘dole bludgers’ but the evidence isn’t there to support that. What we do see, especially in this time of low unemployment, is that those who have been job seekers for a long time have specific reasons for being unemployed, Mr Kearney said.


“With over 30 years of experience and offices up and down the east coast, Workways is keen to see some structural changes to the program to allow us to support job seekers and help address the reasons people may not be able to gain employment.


“We know that employment services providers get a bad rap with job seekers and the community, so as a not-for-profit community-based provider we want our staff to be focused on partnering with the community and employers to find opportunities for the long-term unemployed rather than being Centrelink’s ‘bad cop’.


The Workforce Australia Employment Services inquiry was set up to review employment services delivered by the Australian Government, in particular, how it supports the long term unemployed and young people. The inquiry is being led by Chair Julian Hill MP and Deputy Chair Russell Broadbent MP and is due to report its findings by the end of November 2023.