Every day hundreds of thousands of people are subjected to a punitive, bureaucratic system. This system actively leaves children starving and people homeless. It unfairly targets the most vulnerable people in society, from First Nations people to single parents. Utterly discriminatory in nature, systems such as this are foundations for dystopian novels. Yet it forms the cornerstone of our country’s social security policies. JobActive has allowed the government to directly attack the unemployed and poor of Australia while openly and unashamedly funneling money to private corporations. All the while Jobseekers are moralised at about their cost to the taxpayer. The facts of JobActive speak for themselves:

Why Job Active is bad

While Jobseekers are expected to live on practically $40 a day, taxpayers fund JobActive Providers to the tune of $6 billion. Job Service Agents harass Jobseekers under their portfolio, making them jump through endless hoops, and suspending their payments if they fail to comply. JobActive Providers make between $1,364 and $12,111 for every ‘client’. Private companies such as Sarina Russo and Max Employment get to enjoy effectively having their profit margins funded at the taxpayer’s expense.

Suspensions are doled out based on the Mutual Obligations system, though there is nothing mutual about it. People who are already struggling are expected to attend all appointments, answer every phone call, and acquiesce to every demand a JobActive Provider makes. All for just over $40 a day. People stuck in this system are expected to apply for fifteen to twenty jobs a month. Pre-pandemic, there were twelve to eighteen Jobseekers for every job availabile. The entirety of this system is predicated on ignoring the simple fact that there are not enough jobs. This has allowed the government, and JobActive Providers to effectively paint unemployment as a personal failing instead of a systemic reality. Over two months, after mutual obligations were reintroduced, 75,000 payments were suspended. This included 12,000 First Nations people, 9,000 homeless and 6,000 single parents.

The subjugation doesn’t end if a Jobseeker lands a job. JobActive Providers receive bonuses when Jobseekers find employment, regardless of how much they assisted the individual. Jobseekers have lost newly found jobs thanks to Job Service Agents repeatedly hassling their employer for evidence of employment. This emphasis on KPI’s and bonuses forces Jobseekers to take any job, instead of a job suitable to their needs and abilities. On top of this, JobActive hurts the rights and protections of workers. The erosion and damage of the social safety net make it harder for workers to take action when bosses cut wages and the government destroys work safety laws.

Why APN opposes JobActive

The damage that JobActive facilitates is irrefutable. From hurting employment opportunities, duress to mental health, and trapping people in a cycle of poverty, in no humane world can JobActive continue. Anti-Poverty Network believes that people have a right to life without producing profit for rich capitalists. We believe that one’s dignity should not be suspended so that businessmen, friends of politicians, can have record-breaking profits. Everyday people should not struggle while Sarino Russo adds a $2.175 million property to their real estate portfolio. The poverty we experience is a construct of the governments making, and JobActive is its tool of choice.

We cannot wait for politicians to act on our behalf, time and again they have proven themselves unwilling and uncaring. Through a unified community struggle, we can band together and see an end to the draconian JobActive system. Anti-Poverty Network is urging one and all to transfer away from Sarino Russo (all Jobseekers are entitled to 5 Job Service Provider transfers without reason). This is but the first move in our campaign to abolish JobActive, with more direct and meaningful actions now happening every week. For more information on becoming involved with Anti-Poverty Network, or for assistance with Centrelink payments suspensions, contact Anti-Poverty Network. For a world where human life is valued, JobActive must be abolished. This will happen if we all stand together and fight back, so please get involved today.

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