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Nationals push to deny dole to people unwilling to relocate

August 27th, 2011 Australia

THE Nationals will push for the federal Coalition to adopt a policy of denying unemployment benefits to anyone who refuses work in regional centres.

Nationals push to deny dole to people unwilling to relocateTying skilled migrants to regional areas and providing tax incentives for business are other key parts of the junior coalition partner’s regional investment strategy unveiled today.

Leader Warren Truss said tough measures were needed to encourage unemployed people in the cities to take jobs elsewhere.

“Along with the carrot approach, we should build into our strategy something of a little stick,” he told the party’s federal council meeting in Canberra.

“Young mobile welfare recipients who refuse to take up gainful employment in the regions should not expect to continue to receive those benefits.”

Mr Truss said it was crucial to attract skilled and non-skilled workers to the regions as farmers recover from floods, drought and the global financial crisis.

He said more than 100,000 jobs in agriculture – 80,000 for skilled labour and 22,000 for entry-level roles – would go begging because of labour shortages.

“Tying new migrants to regional locations experiencing skilled and non-skilled labour shortages for a specified period can fill the gaps,” he said.

Under the medical rural bonded scholarship scheme, doctors are required to live and work in the bush for a minimum of six years.

“This is a scheme that can surely be extended to other professions that are in need and demand in regional areas,” Mr Truss said.

He said agriculture and horticulture apprentices should be reinstated on the national skills list, and tax incentives were important to encourage people to start up or relocate businesses to the regions.

Mr Truss also called for a tertiary access allowance to help support regional tertiary students who have to move away from home to study, and pledged that a coalition government would have a dedicated minister for regional health.