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Byron Shire
May 20, 2024

So-called welfare is unfair

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David Lovejoy’s article on the rorting of the welfare system (Echonetdaily, February 13) and how Centrelink/DEWR actually reward and encourage this rorting was spot-on. We need a federal police inquiry or royal commission into what has been going on with these bureaucracies and their privatised employment providers these last 20 years.

I went to an employment services assessment interview last week where my ‘assessor’ started with a barebones computer printout and a blank sheet of paper and said, ‘Tell me a bit about yourself’.

This was after ten years of supposedly intensive case management with many case managers and Centrelink interviews to collect my personal particulars, work history, etc. It seems that once again nothing is on record and the wheel has to be lucratively reinvented. Centrelink/DEWR has deliberately not collected this information.

In 2007 I was ‘assessed’ as having a ‘history of non-participation in the workforce’ and ‘a history of job-avoidance’ after having at least two casual jobs, neither in my profession, in the previous six months and was placed in Work for the Dole by TURSA for 63 weeks straight. Had proper records been kept and maintained, that assessment could not have been made – especially for people over 50! That 63 weeks paid a few people a lot of money and I got the equivalent of $8.50ph for professional-standard work – indentured slave labour.

I was passed through two WftD programs and my treatment in both meant that I actually became less employable locally in my true profession. In one I was used as menial labour to support the businesses of a group of multi-multi-millionaires and it cost the taxpayer as much again as my ‘Newspeak’ did.

That is how Centrelink/DEWR’s contracted employees have been ‘helping the unemployed to find work’ and preparing them for employment. Five levels of supervision over me – all ripping off the system every way they can because these schemes and programs have never been audited properly in any way at all.

How serious are the legal consequences of presenting a ‘reference’ that you know is false?

The Echonetdaily might like to conduct a little survey into how many people there are in this Shire alone who have ‘references’ or ‘qualifications’ for things they do not have a clue about. False instruments created intentionally to deceive have been a feature of this Centrelink/DEWR system – training that never happens while the contracted minion is very well paid.

I personally know a number of people who have wanted to say to the federal police or parliament, ‘Hey, I didn’t do these courses on my certificate; I was standing in shit with no protective gear, pulling weeds at the council sewerage works, not doing a seven-week course in reafforestation and regeneration, since the mid-1990s’.

The older unemployed, especially the single males like myself, have been kept unemployed to be used as fodder and regurgitated to provide lucrative incomes and free labour for selected vested interests in this Shire for 20 years.

The minister, Ms Macklin, is being very selective in what she investigates and how she is doing it.

John Lewis, Ocean Shores


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