With funding cuts to welfare benefits on the horizon, Australians who receive support from Centrelink could soon be kicked to the curb, unable to meet payment deadlines. Forecasted to see a decrease in funding in this year’s Federal budget, Centrelink and similar organisations will be hit hardest by the Government’s move to decrease spending. Federal Treasurer, Joe Hockey admitted that Aussies will have to work hard to see these changes through.

Treasurer Joe Hockey has signalled wide-ranging cuts to come in the May Federal budget, warning that all Australians will have to do the “heavy lifting”.– ABC Online

Just how heavy will the lifting be? UOWTV Multimedia Reporters Samara Gardner, Angelique Lu and Roseanne Scott explored the wide-spread affects the changes will have.

Charities feeling the pinch of Centrelink’s referrals.

When Centrelink can’t help with particular cases they refer those in need to charities such as St Vincent de Paul’s Society.

While Vinnies workers are happy to help in almost any situation, the financial stress of so many referrals is starting to sting.

Multimedia Reporter Rosie Scott spoke to Wollongong Vinnies President Denis Walsh to find out how the flow-on effects of the cuts will impact on his branch.

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Budget to place further pressure on a possible ‘jobless generation’

The term ‘jobless generation’ is one that is increasingly being thrown around, as unemployment rates remain at a high, and the Federal Government’s budget looms.

Many are already sweating the possible welfare cuts, but Martin Smith, Director of the University of Wollongong’s Career Central, said that despite high rates of unemployment in the Illawarra, the ‘baby boom bulge’ would soon create an increase in employment opportunities.

“Every year, everybody gets one year older. And we can see that over the next thirty years, there will be a decline in the number of people participating in the actual labour market.”

Even still, Mr. Smith said that the changing employment environment, and the risk of government cuts to welfare payments would force job seekers to become more competitive.

At UOW, employment statistics remained for many years at 7 to 10% above the national average. However, have dropped slightly in the last couple of years to 5 to 10 %.

“The massification of higher education is real,” Mr Smith said. “And with the uncapped system for students, it will put more pressure on graduates.”

Nathan Johnson, President of UOW’s Law Students’ Society said that that pressure, particularly within the legal profession was evident, with employment opportunities grim.

But Mr. Johnson said the problem could be met by readjusting students’ focus on vocational prospects. “What we should really be doing now is really adjusting the expectations of those coming into law,” he said. By that, students should focus on the skills they learnt during their course work, rather than the degrees they receive at the end.

He also said there needed to be less pressure put on students to attend university.  “Not only managing the reality of the jobs that are out there but also managing the reality that not everyone that comes to university perhaps needs to,” he said.

But finding a job, could quite possibly come down to simply finding yourself.  Mr. Smith said that jobseekers needed to research their selves, what they liked and disliked as well as their opportunities, so as to ensure their employability.

Multimedia Reporter- Samara Gardner

What’s the employment situation like for UOW students?

Youth unemployment in the Illawarra is ‘stubbornly high‘  at 14.8% despite an increase in tourism spending in the region. We ask  ten UOW students their employment status and what it was like to look for work.

 Multimedia Reporter-Angelique Lu