Work-for-dole scheme safe, govt insists

A group of coalition backbenchers are pushing the treasurer to keep the work-for-the-dole scheme. (AAP) Source: AAP

Employment Minister Michaelia Cash says the government has no intention of axing the work-for-the-dole scheme.

The federal government's work-for-the-dole scheme won't be abolished in the upcoming budget, Employment Minister Michaelia Cash insists.

The expenditure review committee has discussed ending the program, introduced by Tony Abbott in 1998 when he was a junior minister in the Howard government, Fairfax Media has reported.

But a key group of backbenchers has lobbied Treasurer Scott Morrison to keep the program, saying axing it would infuriate many conservative voters.

Senator Cash insisted the program was fundamental to the coalition's efforts to get people off welfare.

"The government will not be abolishing Work for the Dole. Any suggestion to the contrary is simply incorrect," she said in a statement.

"It means charities, not-for-profits and other community groups get extra pairs of hands to do valuable community work."

Former employment minister Eric Abetz urged the government to continue the scheme.

"The work-for-the-dole programme is a vital tool in ensuring that unemployed people engage in work-like activities instead of spending the day on the couch," he said in a statement.

"In my time as employment minister, I visited literally hundreds of work-for-the-dole sites and the overwhelming feedback from participants was that this is a positive programme that builds self-confidence and helps people to find friends and the support to find work."

Cabinet minister Darren Chester told reporters outside Melbourne the scheme has had varying levels of success.

He's seen programs in his electorate which have been extraordinarily beneficial.

"And then I've seen other programs which haven't been quite as successful," he said.

"So in terms of quality control, I think there's work that could be done on improving work-for-the-dole and it's something I'm very keen to work with the government to achieve."

Source AAP

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