... So that You may be kept informed

Fed: Dole bludgers to be let off too lightly: opposition

24 Nov 2008 5:41 PM

CANBERRA, Nov 24 AAP - People on the dole who don't look for work will be let off too lightly under proposed changes to welfare laws, the federal opposition says.

The government wants to change the "mutual obligation" system to make it more flexible for jobseekers.

People can lose their welfare payments for eight weeks for not fulfilling their obligations.

Under the proposed changes, people would instead lose 10 per cent of their fortnightly payment for each day they breach their obligations.

Opposition spokesman for employment participation Andrew Southcott said thesanctions were too light.

"There is a complete lack of early intervention," he told parliament on Monday.

Dr Southcott said the changes would water down the successful mutual obligation system and send a message that it was okay for people to not meet their obligations.

But Employment Participation Minister Brendan O'Connor said the new system would be more effective and give an earlier warning to those not doing the right thing.

The opposition tried unsuccessfully to amend the Social Security Legislation Amendment (Employment Services Reform) Bill 2008, which passed the lower house.

It will now go to the Senate.