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Your views: on Centrelink job agencies, uni mergers, talkback radio and the price of lobsters

Reader contributions

Today, readers dispute the term “job providers”, defend individual universities, switch to easy listening and offer a solution to the SA lobster industry being unable to export 90 per cent of their catch to China at premium prices – sell it a bit cheaper to eager South Australians.

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Commenting on the story: Centrelink JobSeeker suspensions rise as mutual obligations resume

Please don’t call them job providers. – Tony Hatton

What I would like to know is how most of these job providers are selected. As an active job seeker, I had found on many occasions that they were pretty useless in their assistance for jobs that I had applied for.

In many instances I applied for jobs relevant to my qualifications, yet no communication was ever given as to the status of the application, yet when I would return I would find the same job advertised, after which I would be told that the job was taken. It is quite a frustrating process and it needs to be revised. – Jonnie Wilson

Look, they’re not job providers, please stop calling them that. They are simply Centrelink payment police.

I have not – repeat not – ever gained employment from these government-funded and supported agencies. Being a fully qualified mechanic and from a rural background it’s not hard to find employment, but sometimes you need support for your family. They don’t get you jobs at all, it’s a joke. – Luke Bunning

Mutual obligations, hey. The amount of times I have a call from my job agency that is (supposed to be) at 1 pm,  then I don’t receive a call two and a half hours later, or the next day. Unbelievable. – Sophie Deous 

My job provider has forgotten to call me at the time they said for my phone appointment twice now. I’ve had to chase the person up so I don’t have my payments stopped. This is very disturbing.

I rely on the time my payment comes as I have rent etc. It’s not always the people. These providers don’t call you, help you. (The agency) were fixing up my resume which they never did, resulting  in a job I went for and got the wrong pay because my latest qualifications were not added. Now I am recovering the correct amount through FairWork. – Kim Churchill

Due to the pandemic both my wife and I were forced to apply for the Job Seeker payment. We had both chosen to give up our full time jobs to concentrate on building our own family business making and selling show ribbons and had poured nearly all our savings into the project. We had received many orders for the 2020 Royal Easter Show when the pandemic struck and all the orders where cancelled leaving us high and dry, as well as several thousand dollars out of pocket.

Reluctantly we decided to swallow our pride and apply for JobSeeker as we were not entitled to JobKeeper. Things went well for the first few months until mid October.

My last phone interview appointment with my job agency was set for 10:30am 15th October 2020. I sat with charged phone in hand from 10:15am until 11:30 am and that call never came! As a result of that call not being received, I was not told that the mutual obligations were effective from that date and that I needed to apply for four jobs etc. Hence, I did not apply for any jobs.

On 26th October 2020 I received a message from Centrelink that my payment was suspended. After several failed attempts to message or contact anyone from Centrelink or (the agency) I was forced to quickly contact a few known business owners to ask if they had any work available in order to fulfil this requirement. My payment was restored but I was then issued with a demerit point for this failure.

However, my wife, who also did not receive her appointed phone call meeting from her job agency and was also not told of this changed requirement, was in no way contacted or reprimanded.

I am 59 years of age and have worked hard all my adult life (since the age of 15) to help this country grow. I have never before had to ask for a handout from the government or anyone else. If this is the way the Australian Government treats there hard working citizens, shame on them.

This failure was not my fault and I should not have been penalised in any way for it. How dare Centrelink treat me in such a degrading manner. They are public servants, being paid by us (the public) and I demand to be treated with respect by them. We are all human. We all make mistakes. We are also supposed to accept responsibility for those mistakes. We do not penalise others for our own errors.

As a result of this nightmare event administered upon me by Centrelink’s failure, my wife and I have now made the decision to cease receiving payment from the government. In essence, they can “Jam it!” – Bernard Touzell

Why are they called ” job providers”? They don’t do that at all. So many people would take any job that is offered, but there are no jobs, or very few. They want you to walk the streets, go everywhere asking, but that is so depressing, getting all the knockbacks. The government wants you to lose heart, give up and get off their system. These “job providers” are a joke. – Danny Heaver

These job networks do not work. They do not get you appropriate jobs. Every time someone I know gets a job it is without the job agency’s help and then the agencies try to claim payment for getting them the job.

They are mostly manned by young people that become heady with the bit of power they are given. If they take a dislike to you, they make it very hard to keep your unemployment payment. Most of them have no idea about the difficulties of life because they still live with their parents, yet they are telling  grown adults how life works.

The courses they force people to do are useless. Making someone that is nearly 50 years of age go into a classroom set up for two weeks to learn how to apply for a job is completely worthless and a waste of time. Jobs were more accessible when you could get your own interviews. With the job agencies, you can’t get an interview if they don’t like you. Then they send inappropriate people for the job. The old CES was a lot better and you had a chance of getting decent appropriate work. – Jodie Mattin

Why not cut out the business known as job providers.? As a business, they aim for funding and profit, not the penniless individual. Occasionally these money-munching job providers might get a pretty young thing Barista training,which rarely leads to permanent emoyment.

Not everyone is capable of dealing with the bureaucratic requirements especially around disability patients. Disability pensions did not rise or come close to that paid to the unemployed during the Covid supports. Low payments to anyone does not help. That welfare money goes straight out to other Australians. Any old job does not create a great life as our leaders insist, justifying their inflicted poverty. Watch how petty theft goes up as income support drops.The only future for the underpaid is homelessness or crime. – Robyn Louise

I received two texts notifying me of my JobSeeker being stopped before reporting. My job agency didn’t call me at the specified time like normal, causing me to call them two hours after appointment not given to me. After I called a lady she said my lady will call me back. I told her my reporting day is today so please make sure she does!

I waited and called back an hour later, the lady said she passed on my message. I asked to be put through, told she will call me. I said no, I need to report today and received two texts about my payment being suspended. She said hang on, then put me through to my jobs lady. I told her about my text and need to report today. I asked why has my payment been suspended she said she didn’t know as was aware I’m still in my fortnight.

She said hang on, you don’t have a job plan because of Covid. I said what? She said we need a new plan for you. I said I need to be paid tomorrow or I don’t eat.

She said I’ll do one now and email it to you and you confirm and we’re done. So went from can’t do today but can tomorrow to be done today by email. I reported and got paid next day.

This week however, same again – I had to call them two hours after the actual appointment time. I told my lady: You can hire me if you like, so we get our appointments on time and less stress on us waiting to be called!

No suspension threat this week, but chances are if this happened to me then mutual obligations not being met is a smidge on the lack of people doing the right thing by us on Jobseeker, by the job agency not doing theirs. – Deborah Shaw

Commenting on the story: SA councils say higher Centerlink JobSeeker rates are good for recipients, economy

The message is loud and clear in local government but not in our federal government – raise the rate! – Sonja Grdosic

The northern suburbs Mayors are spot on. The proposed further cut to JobSeeker Covid Supplement has been modelled to remove $31.3billion – yes billion! – from the economy across Australia over the next two years, and remove 145,000 jobs. We really don’t need this downward pressure on our economy.

Now is the time to be boosting our economy.  There are over 228,000 more people unemployed across Australia than there were this time last year. Many industries will continue to be affected by the pandemic, international border closures and global economic downturn. 

These things are not in the Australian Government’s control – what is in their control is the ability to push stimulus into the sector of the economy that will spend the money locally – on food, medicines, servicing the car, clothes and shoes for their kids, household goods.  Local spend equals local jobs.

Our Government has the opportunity to demonstrate how, with the pandemic under control in Australia, our economy can bounce back to the benefit of all Australians. – Louise Miller Frost, CEO, St Vincent de Paul Society (SA)

Commenting on the opinion piece: Labor’s university merger plan would shrink South Australia

Labor leader Peter Malinauskas has a dream. He wants to merge all three South Australian universities into a mega-university, supposedly capable, through scale, of ranking in the top 100 in the world. Scale, in and of itself, is no indicator of ranking success, or of excellence in research and teaching. Nor does ranking in and of itself mean students will have a better educational experience or generate better research outputs. In fact, it could be harder to provide a coherent educational and research culture in a sprawling mega-university with so many different backgrounds and dispositions competing for survival. A mega-university may also be tempted to further concentrate its research efforts into fewer and fewer areas of impact in the mad pursuit of research rankings and international prestige.

Given the Labor leader’s lofty ambition, you would have thought the state Labor party would have consulted with critical stakeholders, such as staff, students, and the National Tertiary Education Union, to gauge enthusiasm or motivation to pursue such a venture.

Believe it or not these critical stakeholder love their universities and have plenty of local knowledge and wisdom to impart about the institutions they serve and engage with – the same goes for the hundreds of thousands of alumni that have passed through these universities over the decades. After all, any such merger will radically reshape our state’s tertiary sector and completely erase the individual cultures involved. All three SA universities have local characters and local and specialist approaches to student engagement and research cultures, all of which will be refashioned in the race for scale and internationalisation. Is big better or just different? And how many valuable staff will lose their jobs as three universities are stripped back to one?

Our public universities exist to serve the public good. They have already been completely altered by the corporate turn. If anything, we need our local universities to go back to what they do best: serve their local communities and widen participation by offering individualised and bespoke educational cultures, pathways, and research cultures – ones that genuinely put students and staff at the centre of everything they do (without all the bloated beauracracies micromanaging every facet of institutional life and alienating staff and students from governance and participation).

There is no guarantee a mega-university will better serve our students or the various communities we serve. Resisting the corporate turn and returning our campuses to stakeholder-driven communities of practice and engagement may in fact deliver the state a better tertiary sector – one that preserves jobs and grows opportunities.

 We need to have a proper conversation about the purpose and principles of our three excellent universities, and not delimit those possibilities to rankings, scale, and international markets. That’s the language of marketisation and commodification – a language unsuited to knowledge production and research integrity. The corporate turn has only perverted the missions of our universities and this policy announcement only further alienates critical stakeholders from decision-making and engagement.

Without consulting staff and students, the SA Labor party has made invisible and silent those who can offer the most and who have the most to lose. That makes the announcement a monologue rather than a conversation. – Dr Andrew Miller, NTEU Flinders branch president

Commenting on the story: Radio ratings: ABC takes back breakfast but talk stations lose ground

With Covid never ending and more bad news one after the other with the loss of major events and death of babies, I’ve noticed it first with my wife, that she is done with depressing talkback on radio and switched to easy listening and now I have joined her.

There’s just too much bad news. We need a distraction, not continual reminders of gloom and doom. – Mark Thompson

Commenting on the story: SA lobster fishers aim to snare new global markets

I love SA rock lobster and believe the local price is very high. If the industry can’t sell into China at premium prices with the subsidy to help get the product to China then why not reduce the local price where people will buy the lobster and make up the shortfall of profit to the lobster fishermen? – John Oliver

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