Minister downplays job-hunting shift fears

·1-min read

Australia's welfare minister has downplayed fears about proposed changes to unemployment benefits.

The federal government wants people to enter into job plans before receiving income support.

Advocates fear this could delay payments to more than 144,000 people, including those affected by snap lockdowns.

The amendments would also push more people to look for work online instead of attending appointments with job agencies.

Social Services Minister Anne Ruston rejected suggestions this would leave many unemployed people worse off.

"We think a lot of Australians who find themselves on unemployment benefits will be better off by being able to access this online," she told ABC radio.

"It will obviously be a much easier and more streamlined process by which they can engage with the jobs market."

Senator Ruston said there were more job ads online at the moment than at any point in recent years.

"Being able to give people a simple way to be able to engage with the job market without actually having to go in and do face-to-face engagements gives people who don't have any barriers to work really easy access," she said.

"And it frees up our job service providers to make sure they've got more time to spend on people who may be finding it more difficult to get a job."