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Australia’s ‘Work for the Dole’ scheme to include gardening?



February 3, 2014

The Australian Government is reviving that old chestnut, the ‘Work for the Dole‘ scheme. Whether you think that’s good or bad, what bothers me are reports that work might include “rubbish collection, park maintenance and gardening and painting at aged care facilities.” (AAP) So gardening is now as skilled as rubbish collection??

Gardening may be something that anyone can LEARN to do, but I really object to it being portrayed as something so unskilled or unimportant that we should let loose armies of untrained workers on our parks and gardens, no doubt with some horribly destructive consequences.

I’m already seeing strimming/whipper-snipping around tree trunks, butchering pruning and precious perennials being ‘weeded’ out.

Besides, if you leave the slogans behind and look at the real evidence, it shows that ‘work for the dole’ schemes, as much as they sound like they’re a good idea, cost a fortune and don’t get people off the dole. And who picks up the tab for the damage?

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Peta Trahar
10 years ago

Totally agree! In fact it sends my blood pressure up just thinking about it. No wonder school leavers are less likely to see horticulture as a career. I’m sick of “free plants”, “free garden talks” the word “cheap” coupled with gardening. I well remember (showing my age) the naughty kids being sent out to do some gardening. Those were the days that schools had gardeners – just maybe that was OK. a quiet chat with the gardener might have set them back on the right path.

Otherwise let’s value and cherish everything to do with gardening, landscaping and the green world.

Brian McKinlay
Brian McKinlay
10 years ago

To equate gardening with rubbish collection shows that our PM is far removed from the real world of the garden
Skill,intuition and zeal are the requirement of the true gardener,and a clear view of the world around…would that our leaders had the same skill

Judi New
Judi New
10 years ago

I, too, worry about both the implied (lack of) value and the actual value of ‘work for the dole’ in gardens and parks.

I find it hard to believe that people who are being forced to work are going to care about the quality of what they do – or even whether what they do is right or not. Further, equating garden maintenance with rubbish collection is demeaning to all gardeners and trained horticulturists.

The bottom line, I suspect, for the government is to make being on the dole so unpleasant that the unemployed get a job (because we all know that it is sooo easy to do – ironic grin), to get away from it. And yes, it’s not hard to see that the costs of work poorly or incorrectly done would soon outweigh any advantage of getting the work done in the first place. Still, we might all be able to get jobs overseeing their ‘dole bludgers” and training them!!!!