27 Aug 2012, Comments (3)

So, Mr Smith.

Author: Helen

You were quoted as saying that cutting welfare is “something we should consider” because you reckon that the only thing preventing unemployed people from moving to remote mining settlements in the Kimberley is that they are living too high on the hog on their overly generous unemployment payments.

According to that article apparently even Bill Shorten, or his Spokesthing, seem to believe this age-old myth that people are having so much fun living on $245 a week they are refusing to take the millions of jobs which are just waiting for them to walk into them.

So, I have a few questions for you.

Many unemployed people have children. Do you know whether these mining towns have suitable primary and secondary schools, kindergartens and childcare centres? Do they have enough places and qualified staff to take the new workers’ children immediately? Given the sometimes temporary nature of mining projects, are you confident that the market can provide these services for every new place they have to move to? Are there hospitals there? GPs?

Given that we know that remote areas have serious problems with infrastructure and staffing, do you think you really thought about this enough before shooting your mouth off offering your considered opinion?

Housing in mining towns is notoriously expensive. How will those unemployed people be able to move into these places? How will they be able to pay the rent, let alone the bond? In fact, how will they get there? Plane tickets are an impossibility for people on $35 a day. Are you proposing some kind of nineteenth century US-style wagon train?

How will they move in? They’ll need at least a minimum of furniture, cooking equipment, crockery, etc. Will these be available at reasonable prices, and how will they afford them on top of the plane ticket, bond, rent, and all the rest of it? You probably don’t know this, given that you live on about $26,000 a day, but in the cities and towns we have op shops and other sources for people on benefits. Are there op shops in the mining towns, Mr Smith? Enough to clothe and house all our unemployed? Somehow I doubt it.

Someone else is asking whether the unemployed people have husbands or wives or partners who are working? Is it a good idea for them to have to pull up sticks and leave their jobs on this fool’s errand?

Then there’s the problem of matching the skills to the mining jobs. Of course, the Victorian government is systematically destroying the TAFE system, so it’s no use looking for your unemployed workers in Victoria.

And today, in the same newspaper which published your utterances, our National Centre for Social and Economic Modelling says the dole is so low that not only is your vision of freeloaders living large on benefits a complete myth. The NATSEM report finds being so skint is actually hindering people from applying successfully for jobs.

Don’t worry, though. If you read the comments on the AGE reports you’ll find the dole bludger myth is alive and well. Good work, Mr Smith! You can go back to counting your money now.

Comments (3) »

  • Ann O'Dyne says:

    Mining? I have just read the Gina Rinehart biography. wow.

    Mining town rents start at $1500 per week.

    Another comedic aspect of the system:
    asking for a NewStart benefit requires agreeing to travel up to 2.5 hours for a job that might be available. IF that’s a 7:30 start at the Ford plant, the bludger that far from Geelong must hit the bus stop at 5am … but there is no bus at 5am anywhere.

  • M-H says:

    Oh you silly girl! No-one expects them to actually *live* in these remote places (does anyone actually live there?) They can become FIFO workers. Best of both worlds! Earning a fortune, building up a future fund for their (distant) families, creating business for sex workers…

    Oh, wait…

  • David Irving (no relation) says:

    I wonder if Mr Smith participates in the “CEOs sleeping rough” charade? Probably not, as you’d expect a night sleeping in a cardboard box to give him a sliver of empathy for those less fortunate than himself.

    What an arsehole.

Leave a comment

XHTML– Allowed tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>