By ERWIN CHLANDA
The Federal Department of Employment has today provided a response to questions the Alice Springs News Online asked a week ago about the work for the dole scheme at the Alice Springs Golf Club.
A spokesperson for the department said: “The department is aware of the low participation rates of job seekers at ‘Golf Club Greening’ activity at the Alice Springs Golf Club and has had several discussions with the Job Services Australia (JSA) provider ITEC who established and manages this activity.
“The department monitors the participation rates of all work experience activities, and is satisfied with the efforts made by ITEC to improve attendance at this activity. To support ITEC and the Alice Springs Golf Club, a departmental officer will facilitate discussions next week to determine if additional strategies can be implemented to improve participation levels.”
We asked the department whether people not turning up for work are continuing getting the dole.
The spokesman said: “The conditions of individual job seekers are all different, however job seekers who fail to meet participation requirements without valid excuses are reported by the JSA provider to the Department of Human Services (DHS) who review each case and determine what penalties are applied if appropriate.”
We asked what actions ITEC is expected to take.
The spokesman replied: “ITEC provides transport to the activity on the two days per week that the activity runs and makes reminder calls to each participant prior to arriving at their house for pick-up. ITEC appropriately reports non-participating job seekers to DHS.
“ITEC has been forthcoming with the department expressing concerns about the participation levels for this activity and has discussed strategies to improve participation rates.
“ITEC will continue to work with the Alice Springs Golf Club to implement strategies together to improve attendance where possible and this will be monitored by the department.”
We asked how much do ITEC and the supervisor are getting get paid.
We did not get a specific answer but the spokesman said: “ITEC uses Employment Pathway funds to support operational costs of the activity such as materials or personal protective equipment for participants. For privacy and confidentiality reasons it is not appropriate to discuss remuneration.”
The spokesman said as at August 27 there were 293 job seekers doing work experience activities in Alice Springs: “Work experience activities can include work for the dole, accredited training, voluntary work, unpaid work experience or part-time work. There are 29 job seekers (or 10 per cent) doing work for the dole.”
We asked how many participants have complied with requirements.
The answer: “This type of compliance data for these job seekers is not readily available.”
The spokesman also said Alice Springs is not one of the 18 selected areas around Australia of the reinvigorated trial programme.
By ERWIN CHLANDA