STORES in the south-west could face a flood of resumes over the counter from next year when the Abbott government’s tough new job-seeker laws kick into effect.
Under the changes job hunters aged under 29 who apply for the Newstart payments will need to apply for up to 40 jobs a month, including advertised positions and resume dropping.
The tough requirements will likely mean young people in the country will need to consider moving away to larger cities instead of waiting to find employment locally. At least one Warrnambool business fears the changes will result in it being inundated with CVs from people simply trying to reach their dole requirements rather than genuinely find work.
Resumes are generally encouraged over the counter at Brightbird Espresso on Liebig Street, apart from the busy lunch hour. The café normally gets an influx just before Christmas from students seeking summer work.
“We do get quite a few in and we don’t want to discourage it,” owner Mark Brightwell said.
“But for the sake of just seeking the allowance, it is going to be a bit annoying.”
The cafe owner said he might even consider placing a sign at the door if it became too much of a nuisance.
It’s a different story at Pontings Hardware, where co-owner Raelene Ponting estimates just one resume passes over the counter each month.
“We put an advertisement up for a timber yard salesman position and we had a very poor response,” Ms Ponting said.
“I don’t think people on unemployment benefits want to work ... I think they should have to apply for up to 40 jobs a month.”
Despite sitting on a busy CBD corner, Kodak Express manager Geoff Cain estimated only four resumes had been handed in off the street this year.
But he said many retailers were scaling down to a manager and a part-time assistant, and pointed out that as many as five shopfronts had closed in the city in the last month.
“Jobs in Warrnambool are really hard to get,” Mr Cain said.
Wannon MP Dan Tehan said the region’s high youth unemployment rate required action.
“It’s very important that we provide young Australians with work so they can start their careers and begin their lives as best they can and avoid welfare,” Mr Tehan said.
“What I would accept is that some people will move into Wannon and some people will move out of Wannon to find work.
“There are programs to assist people in relocating.”
The region has one of the highest youth unemployment rates in Victoria with 17 per cent of young people neither in full-time education or employment.
According to the Aus-tralian Local Government Association (ALGA) one in six western district school leavers is out of work.
Former Wannon Labor candidate Michael Barling said young people were being demonised by the government and said the region’s low year 12 attainment rate was a leading factor in young unemployment.
“It’s debilitating being unemployed ... the idea that there’s thousands of young people just kicking back is one of the biggest furphies going around — being unemployed is soul-destroying,” Mr Barling said.
He also said young people would be forced out of their home towns under the changes.
“I think it’s really challenging for them.
“We’re always talking about the need to keep young people in our community but we’re not willing to make that investment,” Mr Barling said.
“How are you supposed to build the social fabric of your community?”