The Welfare Trap

Instead of pushing for dole increases we should be pushing for more accountability from those claiming unemployment.

The Welfare Trap
Photo by Ernie Journeys / Unsplash

The evidence of the challenging state of the Australian economy can be seen everywhere.

Capital cities have prime retail premises empty. Those that are open often have a skeleton staff.

That was noticeable during a recent lunchtime walk down one of Adelaide's premier shopping strips.

One would normally think this was prime purchasing time as office workers are on a break, but the shop assistants clearly needed a break too.

Several stores had a 'closed for lunch, back in 30 minutes' sign on their front doors.

Others had notices stating they were closed that day due to a personal emergency.

This is a not so subtle code for 'we couldn't find a replacement staff member'.

And it wasn't only small retail outlets either.

On Sunday my wife went to one of our regular supermarkets. It's an 'award winner' for the range and quality of produce it supplies so is always very busy.

However on this particular Sunday, there were just two registers open and no-one to staff the regular specialty counters.

According to one of the two working, no other members of the team were available to work that day.

There are so many stories like this being experienced by businesses large and small.

And yet, despite the clearly desperate shortage of people willing to work their ABC is pushing for an funding increase for the more that one million people on the dole.


Frankly, I find it staggering that there are that many people claiming unemployment when there is an abundance of jobs available.

Sure, some of the positions may not be perfect but any job is better for you than sitting around doing nothing.

If getting a job doesn't stack up financially, because of some potential benefit hit, then there is something clearly wrong with the welfare policy settings.

On top of the unemployed we've got millions on a whole raft of other allowances and benefits because they are seemingly incapable or unable to work.

I am sure many of these are legitimate but I am equally sure that many are not.

It maybe that the legitimate claimants are actually fewer than those taking advantage of the current system.

Quite how our politicians intend to remedy this problem for small business and the poor taxpayer is anyone's guess.

Labor have chosen the quick fix of increased migration to fill jobs but that will only create a raft of other problems now and into the future.

What's really needed is to get the millions misusing and abusing our welfare system off their backsides and back into the workforce.

That would require some very tough policy reform and an iron political will.

Neither are foreseeable in our immediate future.

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