Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews has confirmed that the Federal government is considering transporting unemployed people to different parts of Australia so they can obtain work.
Under the so-called “live dole exports” scheme, long-term jobseekers would be placed on government container ships and taken to parts of Australia where demand for workers is high.
“There are lots of people who travel long distances now to work,” said Mr Andrews. “We want to encourage people to take a job even if there are circumstances where that job might be further away.”
Mr Andrews insists that every effort will be taken to ensure jobseekers are treated humanely whilst aboard the ships and that they arrive safe and alive at their destination.
“Although there will always be natural attrition, the government doesn’t want to reduce the unemployment rate by killing people.”
The move is the latest attempt by the Abbott government to reduce the burgeoning social security budget. It comes a week after an announcement that Centrelink would be replaced with social security vending machines.
Mr Andrews said that if the live dole exports scheme is successful, it could be applied to other problem social security payments, such as age pension.
“Anecdotal evidence suggests older Australians love going on cruises. If we could get even 100,000 age pensioners on ships every year, the reduced strain on our health system and the Federal Budget would be immense.”