The Hills and Hornsby councils are happy to help jobseekers

THE Hills and Hornsby councils are supporting a proposal to involve councils in an expanded Work for the Dole scheme to start by the next financial year.

But Australian Local Government Association president Felicity-ann Lewis said councils need more information about what would be expected of them in terms of equipment, training, supervision and general resources.

The body represents 560 councils nationally, including The Hills and Hornsby councils.

Ms Lewis said councils also needed advanced notice of local projects to be carried out by Work for the Dole participants, for budget purposes.

Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker said the government, not councils, would manage Work for the Dole participants and complete paperwork.

"Council actively encourages job skills development through our very successful traineeships program," The Hills Council's general manager Dave Walker said.

"The Work for the Dole proposal is an interesting idea that could provide similar opportunities."

Hornsby mayor Steve Russell said: "If we can help in a positive way it will benefit both our local community and society in general".

The number of Australians receiving the Newstart Allowance — known as the dole — rose by 20 per cent last year with 805,398 people receiving unemployment benefits in November 2013.

Of those, 224,812 had been out of work for a year or longer.

Under the new scheme, non-profit aged care homes and charities would also be encouraged to recruit volunteers from the pool of Newstart jobseekers, whose payments would be stopped if they turned down a job.

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