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PATH scheme should be abandoned after public support evaporates

16 June 2016 By ACTU

Public support for the Turnbull Government’s controversial PATH scheme has plummeted from 69% who supported it a month ago to only 42% who now believe it will create jobs, according to Essential polling conducted in the last week.

The scheme, which makes unemployed people available to companies as free labour while the government pays them $4 per hour, was initially welcomed by voters desperate for any sign that the Abbott/Turnbull Government’s attacks on skills training and the unemployed might be coming to an end.

But the more people learn about the grim reality of life on Mr Turnbull’s PaTH to nowhere, the more they realise it’s more of the same from a government that has cut a billion dollars from TAFE and $247 million from skills training.

The Turnbull Government should scrap PaTH immediately. The ACTU notes that the ALP has announced genuine programs for both pre-apprenticeship training and minimum apprentice numbers on major government projects that will give young people genuine qualifications and a great start to their working lives.

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Ged Kearney:

“Youth unemployment is reaching critical levels across Australia and the next government needs to give kids a hand up, not hand them over to companies to be exploited as free labour, without the protection of Fair Work Australia, federal OHS standards or worker’s compensation.”

“Completing the PaTH scheme gives a young person nothing that will help them find a real job. For the same money that is being spent on PaTH, the same number of young people – 120,000 - could complete a Certificate IV; a real qualification that leads to a real job.”

“The Turnbull Government should abandon this scheme, which has never made sense and now, less than a month since it was announced, has lost the support of the Australian public.”

Key facts:

  • Newstart allowance for a single person with no children is currently $527.60 per fortnight.
  • If the recipient works a PaTH internship for 25 hours a week, they only receive an extra $200 per fortnight ($4 an hour worked), meaning they receive $363.80 per week in total.
  • The minimum wage is currently $17.70 per hour, saving business a total of $442.50 for 25 hours work per week per employee.
  • PaTH participants would receive $78.70 per week below the minimum wage as well as missing out on other important conditions like sick leave, superannuation and penalty rates.
  • Youth unemployment has reached 33% in outback Queensland, 24% in Cairns, 21% in South East Tasmania and 18% in the Hunter Valley, according to April’s jobs figures.
  • ABS figures released in March put current job vacancies nationally at around 172,900 while also reporting that 737,300 people are looking for work.


Media contact: Peter Green 0400 764 200

Contact Details
Name: Linda White, ASU Assistant National Secretary
Telephone: 03 9342 1400