Young job seekers forced to wait six months for unemployment benefits will be required to apply for 40 jobs a month, document their efforts to find work and meet regularly with an employment service provider, despite not receiving any payments.
Under proposals announced in the budget, job seekers aged under 30 will be ineligible for payments for six months after applying for benefits.
Despite not receiving any money for six months, job seekers will be required to meet the activity requirements for unemployment benefits throughout this period. Photo: James Alcock
But despite not receiving any money, job seekers will be required to meet the activity requirements for unemployment benefits throughout this period.
If they fail to do so, their waiting period will be extended by four weeks.
Job seekers will be required to attend monthly appointments with an employment service provider, and show evidence, such as a job search diary, that they have looked for 40 jobs that month.
A spokeswoman for Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews defended the requirements.
"These expectations are reasonable, and similar to what is currently in place for job seekers on Newstart Allowance or Youth Allowance," the spokeswoman said.
"It is essential that young job seekers access the employment services available during the waiting period in order to give themselves the best chance of getting a job and remaining connected with the labour market."
The spokeswoman said one month would be discounted from a job seeker's waiting period for every year of work history, up to a maximum discount of five months.
Greens Senator Rachel Siewert said making people live for six months with no income support would make it more difficult for job seekers to meet their obligations.
''The government hasn't thought through how this cruel measure will be implemented, how compliance will work or how people will live for six months, let alone how they'll meet any obligations within that time,'' she said.
''People don't want to be stuck on income support. People want to be working, but the government's approach is making things much tougher.''
Officials told a Senate hearing last week that $230 million had been allocated to providing those affected by the changes with emergency relief such as food parcels or help paying utility bills.
The government expects 550,000 applications for such support over four years.
Labor has vowed to oppose the changes to unemployment benefits, which the government estimates will provide savings of $1.2 billion over four years.
In his budget reply speech, Opposition Leader Bill Shorten described the changes as "perhaps the single most heartless measure in this brutal budget", which would "create a forgotten generation of Australians - shut out of the workforce".
Mr Shorten said the changes would condemn young people to a "potentially endless cycle of poverty when they should be getting a hand to find a job".