Evaluating the Impact of the Newstart Australia Program on the Unemployed – Research Paper Example

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The paper "Evaluating the Impact of the Newstart Australia Program on the Unemployed" is an excellent example of a research paper on social science. Introduction The Newstart Australia Program is an unemployment benefits program established in February 1989 by the Department of Social Security in conjunction with the Department of Employment, Education, and Training. Basically, this unemployment benefits program was established so as to provide financial help for unemployed Australians between the ages of 21 to 64 years. This program aims at providing financial help to unemployed individuals while they search for suitable employment.

By providing financial help to unemployed individuals, this program hopes to increase their prospects of finding employment (DHS 2012). In principle, the Newstart unemployment benefit program aims at shielding the temporarily unemployed from plunging into poverty which may, in turn, limit their prospects of finding employment by providing allowances that enable the unemployed to live quality lives while they search for new jobs or prepare for employment through training(DHS 2012; Davidson 2011). Over time, there has been increasing concern over the effectiveness of the Newstart Program in achieving its key objective of providing support to the temporarily unemployed.

Several concerns have been raised over the viability of the Newstart program activities, adequacy of the Newstart allowance and the overall impact of the program on the unemployed individual. Reports from program recipients and advocacy groups such as Catholic Social Services Australia, the Australian Council of Social Service and the Business Council of Australia purport that there are major deficiencies in the Newstart program that have made the program ineffective. These groups allege that the increasing inequality between Newstart allowances, average income levels and other forms of income support offered to working-age Australians or welfare payments has caused the program to become a poverty trap for unemployed individuals (ACOSS 2012; AAP General News Wire 2012; Grahame and Marston 2012; Hall 2012; Martin and Harrison 2012).

Some argue that the allowances that the program provides are too little to support decent living due to the rising cost of living (Bita 2012; Vasik 2012). Consequently, recipients of the program succumb to low living standards and poverty which further reduces their prospects of finding suitable employment (Saunders 2011; Bita 2012; Karvelas, 2012).

In addition, concerns have been raised on the likelihood of the program increasing dependency on welfare amongst the unemployed (Ninemsn 2012). Nevertheless, a recent research study conducted by Grahame and Marston (2012) depicted that welfare programs such as the Newstart program could have a different impact on different groups of recipients. Research Aims Based on these findings, it is evident that there is a need to effectively evaluate the impact of the Newstart program on the unemployed so as to establish whether it has achieved its objective of providing support for unemployed individuals as they seek employment.

This study was conducted so as to assess the impact of the Newstart program on unemployed individuals. The key objectives of this study included; To assess the impact of the Newstart program on unemployed individuals in Australia. To identify areas that require reforms in order to increase the effectiveness of the Newstart program. Research questions used to investigate the key objectives of the study included;

References

AAP General News Wire 2012, ‘NSW: Newstart programs slammed by Howe’, 9News, 16 May. Retrieved on 6 October 2012 from

Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) 2012, ‘Newstart comparisons ‘misleading’’, Retrieved on 6 October 2012 from

Bita, N. 2012, ‘Inflation rate not a patch on the cost of living’, The Australian, 2 August, Retrieved on 6 October 2012 from

Davidson, P. 2011, ‘Did 'Work First' Work? The Role of Employment Assistance Programs in Reducing Long-term Unemployment in Australia (1990-2008)’, Australian Bulletin of Labour, Vol. 37, No. 1, pp 51-96.

Department of Human Services (DHS) 2012, Newstart Allowance, Retrieved on 6 October 2012 from

Gittins, R. 2012, How to demystify the jobless rates thrills and spills, Retrieved on 15 August 2012 < http://www.smh.com.au/business/how-to-demystify-the-jobless-rates-thrills-and-spills-20120810-23zin.html>

Grahame, T & Marston, G 2012, ‘Welfare-to-work Policies and the Experience of Employed Single Mothers on Income Support in Australia: Where are the Benefits?’ Australian Social Work, Vol. 65, No.1, 73-86.

Hall, B 2012, ‘Dole's far too low: report’, The Sydney Morning Herald, 27 August, Retrieved on 6 October 2012 from < http://www.smh.com.au/opinion/political-news/doles-far-too-low-report-20120826-24ulk.html>

Irvine, J 2012, ‘Change is the only constant in jobs market’, Sydney Morning Herald, 11 August. Retrieved on 16 August 2012 from

Karvelas, P. 2012, ‘Business backs higher Newstart to stop entrenched joblessness’, The Australian, 14 August. Retrieved on 6 October 2012 from

Kinnear, P., Grant, D. and Oliver, K. 2003, ‘Welfare Reform in Australia, an evidence-based approach’, Paper for Australian Social Policy Conference July 9-11, University of New South Wales, Sydney.

Martin, P & Harrison, D 2012, ‘Revealed: dole recipients too poor to buy food, medication or heating’, The Sydney Morning Herald, Retrieved on 6 October 2012 from

Ninemsn, 2012, Newstart programs slammed by Howe, Retrieved 14 August 12

Operation Newstart Victoria (ONV), 2009, Operation Newstart Victoria, viewed on 14 August 2012< http://onv.org.au>

Saunders, P. 2011, Down and Out: Poverty and Exclusion in Australia, the Policy Press, Sydney.

Sloan, J 2011, ‘Newstart needs a boost’, The Drum Opinion, 31 October Retrieved on 15 August 2012 from

Vasik, L 2012, ‘Labor has no plans to lift 'incredibly low' dole: Bill Shorten’, The Australian, 27 August, Retrieved on 6 October 2012 from < http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/labor-has-no-plans-to-lift-incredibly-low-dole-bill-shorten/story-fn59niix-1226459094436>

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