Hanson slams ‘discriminatory’ scheme
Key Queensland crossbencher Pauline Hanson has blasted the Morrison Government's $200-a-week cash incentives for businesses to hire young Aussies as "blatantly discriminatory", while warning that "lucrative" welfare had left many businesses in regional areas crying out for workers.
The measures will struggle to pass without the crossbench, unless Labor backs the plan.
The JobMaker hiring credits plan pays up to $200 a week to employers who take on a new worker aged 35 years or under, which the Government says will support 450,000 jobs.
Senator Hanson says she would rather see the $4 billion from the JobMaker hiring credits scheme go towards helping the states raise the payroll tax threshold, as well as calling for more industrial relations reforms.
She said payroll tax was one of the biggest inhibitors to businesses hiring more staff.
"Under the circumstances, I'm questioning how the Government can launch this $4 billion JobMaker program that blatantly discriminates against those older workers and anyone over the age of 36," she said.
"I would much rather see the $4 billion given to the states in return for them raising the threshold on payroll tax.
"I will tell the Prime Minister myself, there are already jobs across this country where businesses are crying out for workers, but because of decisions made by his government to make welfare so lucrative over recent times, there's not many people willing to move to regional parts of the country and take up the work."
Another key crossbencher Rex Patrick has also taken aim at what he called an ageist policy, but his former Centre Alliance colleague Stirling Griff says it could help boost unacceptably high youth unemployment.
Senator Patrick said he was concerned the hiring credits discriminated against older people in the work force who still had a lot to offer.
"I am also concerned that the JobMaker program could be open to abuse by business," he said.
Senator Griff said he was largely supportive of the plan, rejecting suggestions from unions that it would lead to older workers being sacked and replaced with younger ones.
"The value of experience in the workforce is far greater than $100 or $200 a week," he said.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the youth unemployment was double what it is for the rest of the population.
"We've got a real problem. And the COVID-19 recession has hit those younger people even harder," he said.
"That's not to say others haven't been hit, of course they have. But you've got to focus and put priorities on the problem where it's been most acute.
"If you started out on the dole, on JobSeeker, then you're more likely to spend more of your life on welfare."
He said there was also the existing Abbott Government era Restart program which offers up to a $10,000 wage subsidy for workers over 50 who have been on unemployment benefits for six months or more.
Originally published as Hanson slams 'discriminatory' scheme