The Coalition's policy of handing out bonuses as a solution to long-term unemployment suggests the fault lies with jobseekers and ignores the alarming reality of declining job opportunities for young Australians.
A report released yesterday shows that in a softening jobs market the ever-growing number of people from overseas on short-term working visas is not only leading to exploitation but severely diminishing access to entry-level jobs for locals.
ACTU secretary Dave Oliver said the Coalition's policy assumed that young people weren't already trying to get a job and that they needed to be bribed to go to work.
"Jobs traditionally filled by young people are now frequently being filled by temporary workers such as those on working holidays and student visas. These young people don't need handouts they need opportunity. It's insulting to assume they need to be bribed to go to work," he said.
Mr Oliver welcomed a new report on the subject titled "Scarce Jobs: Migrants or Locals at the end of the Queue?" from the Monash Centre for Population and Urban Research, authored by Bob Birrell and Ernest Healey.
The Monash report shows that while job opportunities for young Australians are shrinking 258,250 visas were granted to young foreign nationals aged 18-30 in 2012-13.
"The Coalition should read this report and then go back to the drawing board. They support and wish to free up the use of migrant workers in Australia and yet we face a youth joblessness issue that could have effects far into the future. The Coalition have obviously not engaged the opinion of experts in the area and have instead decided throwing money at young people will win votes," Mr Oliver said.
"We need to find a balance that does not adversely effect the next generation. Young people who can't enter the workforce because employers prefer the less-protected services of temporary workers will feel dejected."
"It's an unfortunate start to their working lives. It's no secret that inability to find work has an effect on people's self-esteem and motivation. There is a further consequence that they are not given the opportunity to develop their skills."
"We need to be getting the next generation ready for the workforce not sending them the message that they have been replaced and are no longer needed or that we don't believe they are trying hard enough."
Media Contact: Ben Ruse 0409 510 879 or Eleni Hale 0418 793 885