Work for the Dole

Work for the Dole

Work for the Dole is an Australian federal government program that is a form of workfare, work-based welfare. It was first permanently enacted in 1998, having been trialed in 1997.

It is one means by which job seekers can satisfy their mutual obligation requirements. Other means include accredited study, part-time work and volunteer work.

Basic Work for the Dole

Placements are available in a wide range of areas including heritage, the environment, arts, community care, tourism, sport and making and maintaining community services and facilities. Most projects benefit the general community through services and adding value to civic assets, however, some projects in drought affected areas are designed to benefit private enterprise (through the Drought Force scheme).

Upon successful completion of a Work for the Dole placement, participants are usually eligible for a Training Credit to assist with accredited training ($800 for six months, less for less time), a "Passport to Employment" package of job application training, and a fortnightly transport supplement.

Work for the Dole services are delivered through community or local government bodies, or by the Green Corps.

Job seekers may be required by the government to take part in Work for the Dole if they are:

* aged 18 or 19 years, recently completed Year 12, getting the full rate of Youth Allowance, and have been getting payments for three months or more, or
* aged 18 - 49 years, getting the full rate of Youth Allowance or Newstart Allowance, and have been getting payments for six months or more.

In addition, job seekers aged 18 and over who get either allowance can volunteer to participate in an activity at any time.

Those participating in the program usually do so for 32 hours per fortnight. Each placement lasts for six months, and is followed by six months without obligation to participate.

All Work for the Dole participants get an extra $20.80 per fortnight, on top of their Allowance payments. Protective clothing is provided by the project sponsor if it is needed. Essential training, such as occupational health and safety training, is also provided. Transport costs are not separately covered however, and can easily absorb the additional payment - especially for those undertaking the "full time" version.

The United Kingdom has implemented strikingly similar unemployment/welfare policies, which also have official titles based on informal, colloquial terminology.

Full-Time Work for the Dole

Those unemployed for 12 months or more and who have been assessed by their Job Network Member as having a "pattern of work avoidance" may be referred to a program called "Full Time Work for the Dole". This offers no additional payment, but increases the required total participation time to 1,100 hours, with a minimum of 50 hours per fortnight. It usually takes about ten months to complete.


Work for the Dole was first proposed by the Liberal Party of Australia in 1987, and was enacted on a trial basis a year after their ascendence to power at the 1996 federal election in their traditional coalition. On July 1 1998, all job seekers aged 18-24 that had been claiming benefits for six months or more were required to join the scheme.

From April 19 1999, job seekers aged 17 or 18 and who had left Year 12 had to join the scheme after three months of job seeking.

During the 2000 Summer Olympic Games, all those of an eligible age who had been unemployed for three months or more and lived in Sydney were required to participate. This temporary change was made to encourage people to take up casual work during the Games.

In December 2000, Work for the Dole was expanded to include those aged 35-39. Additionally, those aged 40-49 could volunteer themselves for the scheme for the first time.

On July 1 2002, Training Credits were paid to those completing the scheme for the first time. The initial amount was $800 for six months work.

In December 2002, the Drought Force initiative was enacted. Previously, all Work for the Dole projects directly benefited the public, community organisations or civic assets. However, this scheme expanded the scope to include work for privately owned agricultural properties in areas deemed to be experiencing Exceptional Circumstances (generally drought).

On July 1 2006, "Full Time Work for the Dole" was enacted for those seeking work for 12 months or more. They were directed towards a scheme identical to the standard form, except that the fortnightly hours of participation was increased to 50.

Despite speculation otherwise, the Kevin Rudd government will not be shutting down Work for the Dole. [ [ Work-for-dole to stay: Swan - The Age 13/5/2008] ]

ee also

*New Deal (UK)
*Jobseeker's Allowance (UK)
*Workfare (UK)


External links

* [ APH Parliamentary Library E-Brief: "Mutual Obligation/Work for the Dole"]
* []
* [ Centrelink]
* [ Find Work for the Dole places]
* [ Comparison of Australian Mutual Obligation with the UK's New Deal]

Full-time Work for the Dole
* [ Guide to Social Security Law Approved Activity - Full-time WFD]
* [$File/mclw032_0603en.pdf Centrelink - Changes to Newstart Allowance and Youth Allowance from 1 July 2006, for people who have been unemployed for a long time (pdf)]

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