Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaking during CEDA's State of the Nation conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, June 24, 2014.
Prime Minister Tony Abbott speaking during CEDA's State of the Nation conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Tuesday, June 24, 2014. AAP Image - Jeffrey Chan

Abbott tells kids to get to work, with or without pay

YOUNG people will no longer be able to be paid for "doing nothing", according to Prime Minister Tony Abbott, who said parents should support the need to have under 30s work for the dole, because it offers a dignity not available to the unemployed.

In his Canberra speech to the Committee for Economic Development of Australia on Tuesday, Mr Abbott said he wanted the government "to be the best friend that the workers of Australia have ever had".

That was why, he said, Australians under 30 could no longer receive unemployment benefits for more than six months unless they worked for it.

"To be without work is a disaster, especially for young people," Mr Abbott said.

"It stops them achieving their potential.

"That's why there's no compassion in having people start their adult lives on unemploment benefits.

"Fit young people should be working, preferably for a wage, but, if not, for the dole."

The proposed changes to Newstart may still be blocked by the Senate.

The first work for the dole sites from July 1 will include Bundaberg, Fraser Coast in Queensland and Tweed and Coffs Harbour in New South Wales.

Mr Abbott said far from being demeaning, working for the dole was more dignified than simply receiving benefits.

Giving perhaps a nod to the criticism from advocates and families less-than-excited about having their 26-year-old child return to the nest, Mr Abbott said the plan deserved support.

"Given a choice between being useful in the community and taxpayer-funded idleness, governments, parents and society at large should prefer purposeful activity every time."

Those working for the dole may be used as cashiers in charity stores, gardeners at schools, rehabilitating parks and roads or restoring community facilities.



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