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Work-for-the-dole should be scrapped now

MP Sue Bradford today called on the Government to urgently scrap the work-for-the-dole scheme.

Ms Bradford made the call after a suppressed report from July 1999 was released yesterday, revealing that the scheme had failed to lead people into permanent jobs.

Ms Bradford said the report merely repeated what community groups and those working with beneficiaries had known all along.

"The work-for-the-dole scheme has been worse than just a waste of money, it has been a demoralising experience for those beneficiaries forced to participate in it, with no hope of a 'real' job at the end of the scheme.

"At the same time, it has put pressure on schools, community groups and volunteer organisations, many of whom had their funding cut and found themselves dependent on the free labour provided by the scheme, despite ethical reservations that many held about the Community Wage."

However Ms Bradford said new legislation should be wider than simply scrapping the Community Wage.

"New legislation should support beneficiaries in their attempts to find work and live with dignity. Coercive work tests and punitive benefit suspensions should also be scrapped, along with the current 13 week stand-down period."

Ms Bradford's member bill, the Social Security (Work Testing and Community Wage) Amendment Bill which would scrap the work-for-dole scheme, work tests and benefit suspensions, was unsuccessful in last Thursday's members' ballot.

Sue Bradford MP: 04 470 6720 or 025 243 4239 Gina Dempster, Press secretary, 04 470 6723 or 021 1265 289

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