Australian Human Resources

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IR pincer movement to catch the poor?

October 10 2005 - The Brotherhood of St Laurence today warned that Australia's poorest households were at risk of being caught in a pincer movement between the Federal Government's Industrial Relations changes and its Welfare to Work strategy.

"On the one hand the Government is taking the welfare out of work, loosening Australia's traditional system of the minimum wage and the welfare component in wage structure," Tony Nicholson, Executive Director of the Brotherhood of St Laurence said today.

"On the other hand, through its welfare-to-work proposals, the Government is trying to get people off welfare and back into the workforce.

"Yet the government is not investing in the skill development that is required to ensure the very same people will be able to secure a decent job that will enable them to live in modest comfort.

"The risk is that the working poor will become a permanent feature of Australian society.

"Unless the social implications are more carefully thought through those with the least skills, the least personal resources and the least networks are likely to be caught up in a "churn" between unemployment and a succession of low paid, low skilled, short term jobs.

"This will be insufficient to lift people out of hardship and will leave them teetering on the edges of poverty on a permanent basis."



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