Finance

JobSeeker hotline inundated with calls as federal government issues warning to Centrelink welfare recipients

A federal government hotline for employers to dob in welfare recipients who aren’t meeting their obligations has been inundated with calls.

In the weeks since the service was set up, more than 300 people have been reported and more than 240 are under investigation or facing compliance action.

Watch Employment Minister Stuart Robert speak about the hotline above

The Employer Reporting Line was established in May as part of a crackdown on JobSeeker recipients who are taking payments but not meeting their responsibility to find work.

People were dobbed in for a range of offences including submitting inappropriate job applications, failing to attend job interviews or refusing a suitable offer of employment.

The federal government is cracking down on jobseekers who aren’t meeting their obligations. Credit: Matt King/Getty

Employment and workforce minister Stuart Robert told Sunrise that while the vast majority of people were “doing the right thing”, the government would not hesitate to take action against those who were “taking this for a ride”.

“Employers will call the reporting line and let us know if someone hasn’t turned up for a job or let us know about inconsistences with their application – and if they’re on benefits, then we will intervene,” he explained.

“There’s only a small proportion that are doing the wrong thing, but we have an expectation that Australians will stump up.”

Welfare recipients who lie on job applications fall within the scope the crackdown.
Welfare recipients who lie on job applications fall within the scope the crackdown. Credit: Narisara Nami/Getty Images

In one case, a vet in Victoria received had over a dozen individuals falsely answer yes to: Are you a registered veterinarian in Australia?

The veterinarian handed over the resumes of the 13 applicants to the employment department.

The non-qualified applicants had previous work experience in industries such as hairdressing, massage therapy and hospitality.

An online sales manager in Brisbane also called the hotline to dob on four applicants who skipped their scheduled interviews.

Welfare rules

There are currently 1.1 million people on JobSeeker, each receiving between $565 and $850 per fortnight depending on their circumstances.

To remain eligible for payments, recipients must meet mutual obligation requirements outlined in an agreed-upon Job Plan.

These can include attending an employment services provider, searching and applying for jobs, doing Work for the Dole and other approved activities such as study, training and voluntary work.

Roberts said the hotline was introduced as the federal government is “desperate” to get unemployed people into jobs.

Employers can make a report by calling 1300 361 241 or sending an email to employerfeedback@dese.gov.au

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