The Lucky Country

PEOPLE living in areas of high unemployment will be offered up to $5000 to leave home and take jobs in other parts of the country.

The Federal Government will launch a pilot program before the end of the year, hoping to lure single people with no family connections to the likes of Darwin and Western Australia, where there are chronic skill shortages.

But welfare groups and the Opposition say it must not be a precursor to people being forced to move to take jobs.

The Government believes the most likely work will be in the fishing industry in Darwin, pearling in Broome and agricultural, horticultural, retail and hospitality in regional Western Australia and Queensland.

The Workforce Participation Minister, Sharman Stone, told the Herald it was "not sensible to have lumpy unemployment across Australia where people are keen to work but there's no work … We have got to become innovative and loosen the attachment to place if that place doesn't deliver a job. Quite frankly, the effects of long-term unemployment are very serious and that includes isolation, mental health concerns and intergenerational unemployment."

I also heard on talkback this afternoon, the question, “is $5000 enough?” I am bewildered, are we actually whinging about this? We get paid to have children, we get paid when we are on the dole and now in the lucky country, they’ll pay you to move to find work.

Are we still whinging, if so, let me be the minister and here’s how I’ll deal with someone who can’t find work and still wants to have a whinge.

Me – Listen up Mr/Ms so-and-so, you’ve been struggling to find work for a few years now. I’ll give you $5000 to pack your crap and move out where you can find work.

Whinger – Well you see the thing is $5000 is not really enough, all my family and friends are here, I like the local pub, I always get a warm welcome from the local liquor store and you know its those rich folks who stole all our money and that mean John Howard’s IR legislation that started all this.

Me – Well there are jobs out in WA or NT offering around 40K an annum, if you don’t want that, can you arrange your family, friends and fellow locals to fund your annual salary?

Whinger - That’s not fair on them, they paid their taxes. John Howard must pay for me.

Me – Maybe this is news to you, but did you know all those English and others who came out here, they never got relocation expenses, nobody held their hands and wiped their bums when they came out here, you know they had to leave a lot behind when they left.

Whinger - That’s hundreds of years ago, this leftist told me I deserve the tax payers money, I suffer from low self-esteem, so I don’t really need to work, you owe me. That John Howard..

Me [had enough now] – Ok then, I understand, how about I try and motivate you into moving and finding work?

Whinger – Yeah ok.

Me – How about I write you a cheque for a princely sum of zero dollars and zero cents only, for relocation expenses, I’ll also arrange for a fort-nightly payment of zero dollars and zero cents only, from Centrelink to you forever, unless you move.

Whinger – er..

Me – Alternatively, I can always write you a cheque for 20 Zimbabwean Dollars. Note, a $AU20 currency conversion fee and $AU5 cheque processing fee applies. Lastly a 5 working day waiting period applies for the cheque to clear.

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