This response is from a Melbourne man in his 40s. He has requested that his name be withheld.

Sarina Russo couldn’t suspend my mutual obligations when I was studying part-time and working part-time.

Survey responses

Which payment do you get from Centrelink?JobSeeker / NEIS
Do you ever worry about losing your payment?Yes
Provider namesAPM / Sarina Russo
Have you ever had paid work, study commitments or caring duties at the same time as being required to do ‘mutual’ obligations?Yes, I have had paid work while doing ‘mutual’ obligations; Yes, I have been a student
Do you have any paid work?Yes

If you were able to speak directly to the politicians who decide what we need to do to get a Centrelink payment, what would you say to them?

Mutual obligations can get in the way of or prevent someone trying to re-train, or train. Providers are either in thrall to compliance and their service to the individual needs of their charge is an afterthought; or just go through the motions to turn out their responsibility (in my experiences).

Do you do any unpaid work?

Caring for a newborn

Do you want to say anything about your experience with your providers?

(NEIS provider) Most concerned with compliance and not with appropriate advice or guidance. Felt incomplete, cobbled together and not personalised. Seemed to do the bare minimum, but that could have been the mentor or that the program was in a state of flux.

Sarina Russo couldn’t suspend my mutual obligations when I was studying part-time, and working part-time as well as casually, saying “two halves don’t make a whole”, despite each of the main activities (studying and working 3 days) being just shy of acceptable as a full-time activity.

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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