This response is from a Brisbane woman in her 60s. She is a migrant to Australia. She has requested that her name be withheld.

When my husband was diagnosed with cancer I expressed concern about meeting my job search, but they were not sympathetic.

Survey responses

Which payment do you get from Centrelink?JobSeeker
Do you ever worry about losing your payment?No
Provider nameAPM
Do ‘mutual’ obligations activities make your mental or physical health worse?No
Have you been able to access programs or services through a job agency or other provider that helped to improve your physical or mental health?No
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?

Review payment for those who are willing to work PT. Currently there is really very little incentive for those on jobseeker to actively seek some paid work due to the cut in payment. It’s almost like a penalty one pays when one chooses to work some paid hours.

Do you do any unpaid work?

I am currently caring for my husband who is undergoing chemotherapy for Stage 2 lung cancer.

Do you want to say anything about your experience with Centrelink or living on payments?

My experience with Centrelink since signing up in Apr 2020 has been exemplary, except for the one occasion when I could not work out reporting. I have visited my local Centrelink office for assistance, and the staff were very helpful. I do, however, feel that the pro-rated decrease in payments for those who are getting some paid work needs to be reviewed. It is not encouraging people to get paid work, as in some instances, the reduction in payment results in less take home pay. It’s almost like the system is designed to keep people on or just above poverty line.

What is the worst activity you have had to do?

Providing proof of application for a certain number of jobs per fortnight. Meeting with service provider who clearly had no interest in helping me get a job as I am over 60.

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

They were not helpful and did not listen to my concerns. I was aware that as an over 60 person, I would be able to access the Over 60 mutual obligation program. I asked for assistance to direct me to access the program but was ignored. They did not attempt to help me re-skill when I expressed that I did not want to return to teaching after being made redundant. They were only interested to ‘keep me in their books’. When my husband was diagnosed with cancer, I expressed concern about meeting my mutual job search obligation, but they were not sympathetic or forthcoming with assistance. I eventually managed to access the Over 60s plan with help from my duty manager at my volunteer place. I also secured casual PT paid work on my own steam.

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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