BSL Work for the Dole

BSL will not accept volunteers referred through the Work for the Dole program.

Work for the Dole is a compulsory program in which people are required to participate in ‘work experience’ as part of their mutual obligations. If people do not engage when required, their payments may be suspended. As unemployment payments are already well below the poverty line, this pushes people into even greater hardship.

The program operates contrary to BSL’s mission, values and stated policy positions, and is not in the best interests of people who are unemployed.

The House Select Committee on Workforce Australia Employment Services, in their report released 30 November 2023, found that for most people, Work for the Dole ‘does not increase employability, fails to enable social participation, and creates safety risks in some cases’ (p. 373).

Further, the program operates in a context in which people receiving unemployment payments long term experience significant barriers to work and are not adequately supported to overcome these in the current employment services system. BSL believes in supporting agency and choice and using the best available evidence to improve outcomes – Work for the Dole is not consistent with this way of working.

Through our advocacy we are seeking improvements to the employment services system and the replacement of programs like Work for the Dole with meaningful support for people who are unemployed.

If you wish to find out more, please review our recommendations to the Select Committee and their report on Rebuilding Employment Services .