THE resurrected Work for the Dole looks set for a name change to shake off what Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis believes is a negative label.
A parliamentary committee on which Mrs Sudmalis sits suggested a name change along the lines of Work for the Future or Working for Australia.
While the proposed changes to the program are still in draft form Mrs Sudmalis said in its new form it would address self-esteem and other mental health issues often associated with unemployment.
“Australians unable to work must be encouraged to work for a wage, but if not, then giving something back must be reintroduced,” she said.
Mrs Sudmalis recognised the difficulty people have finding work in Shoalhaven but said to contribute skills to not-for-profit groups was a “great way to feel that we are doing our part to give back to our community”.
“The revitalisation of Work for the Dole is one step to re-engage unemployed people and our youth to learn to participate in work opportunities as part of the community.”
She said it was not going to be a case of people being paid to pick up papers while walking along the beach.
“Some of the ideas are things like going into an aged care facility as an extra hand on deck, not taking work away from the people who already work there but helping those who are there while learning in the workplace.
“It could open a door for optional work placement in the future.”
She said the program was as much about building self-esteem in unemployed people as it was about gaining meaningful work placement.
Former ALP candidate for Gilmore Neil Reilly said if the Coalition was changing the name of Work for the Dole, alarm bells should be ringing.
“When they start changing the names of things you know they’re up to funny business to hide their real motive.
“As soon as they start to change the name of something it should start ringing bells.
“When they come out with an education policy we know they probably left out the word private.
“When they have a strategy for TAFE it means to destroy TAFE.
“I think to be helpful to the community, as I’m unlikely to stand again, I might produce a dictionary of Liberal nomenclature,” he said.
Next month Mrs Sudmalis will host a visit by the assistant minister for employment Luke Hartsuyker to discuss the Work for the Dole program.