1 March 2023, SBS News, Jessica Bahr. Access the full article here.

Cycle to a city five hours away or lose JobSeeker support? This is the dilemma Oliver says he faced

Unemployed Australians say service providers are making unreasonable demands and failing to prepare them for work.

A Tasmanian jobseeker says he was told he would have to ride a pushbike to a city five hours away to complete a Work for the Dole activity in order to avoid having support payments cut off.

His story comes as a federal joint committee is conducting a review into employment services, with jobseekers, including people with disability, saying the system routinely fails them.

Oliver Brandt first became unemployed after a knee injury forced him to leave his job and seek a career change.

In 2018 he relocated from Queensland to regional Tasmania to be closer to family, completed a Communications degree and went onto JobSeeker while he tried to find work.

During this time, he was assigned to the employment agency APM (Advanced Personnel Management), and attended fortnightly check-ins at the nearest office, which he says took over two hours and $20 each way via public transport as he does not drive.

The area manager accused me of not wanting to work, and said they would supply me with a bike and I could cycle in … but it would have taken five hours and I would have been leaving home at 3am to bike into Hobart. I couldn’t believe it.

– Oliver Brandt

Employment services survey

The Punishment for Profit report is based on hundreds of responses to surveys conducted by the Antipoverty Centre. This research is ongoing. If you are in Workforce Australia, Disability Employment Services or a similar program, we welcome any information you are able to share about your experiences.

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