Aussie unemployed youth v 417 visa holders
More than 650,000 Australian young people aged between 15 and 24 were unemployed or underemployed in February 2017. The jobless rate, at 13.5% is more than double the adult rate and is the sixth highest in the world. A Federal Government Initiative to pair up these unemployed with farms requiring fruit pickers is to be trialed.
Jobseekers will be able to earn up to $5,000 picking fruit without losing any of their welfare entitlements, in a new trial to be launched on July 1 by the Federal Government. The trial is hoped to assist people living in regional areas fill a seasonal worker gap, but also reducing the risk of losing their benefits when fruit picking work dries up.
Horticultural producers across Australia were concerned about uncertainty with a new backpacker tax rate last year, that would cause a shortage of workers for their industry, this is sparking an increased interest in ways to encourage local unemployed people to take up seasonal work. Lets remember that backpackers only make up a large proportion of fruitpickers, not all of them.
Phil Pyke from Fruit Growers Tasmania said the trial is one of many possible solutions he has discussed with the Federal Department of Employment. Some areas in Tasmania’s apple growing regions have already faced picker shortages this season.
“We welcome the trial because it enables people who are on unemployment benefits to move between casual seasonal work and back again, earning up to $5,000 dollars before it affects their benefits,” Mr Pyke said.
Mr Pyke said a potential labour pool of up to 16,000 people on some level of benefit across Tasmania could fit into the category for being able to work on farms. “We shouldn’t tar everyone with the same brush by saying that because you’re on unemployment benefits you can’t work or you don’t want to work,” he said. He added “We want to create streamlined pathways where people can come in, find a job, not be penalized for it and then [the] potential [to] stay on, or find jobs across production horticulture as they gain experience.”
Questions posed by The Byte:
1. How will this affect 417 visa holders who are looking to gain their 88 days to qualify for a second year visa?
2. Is this a way for government to shuffle the numbers to make the youth unemployment figures look better?
3. Are Aussie youth up to the job when it comes to hard labour and will the farmers or contractors treat them the same way as some of the 417 visa holders (see other story: I’ll break your f…ing arms). Time will tell.
Have your say
Sourced by Mike Barrow
Source: ABC Rural