Wednesday 22 January 2020

Clearing up the mess

There is a "Housing Trust" scheme here. It is rather like "council housing" in England and other forms of social welfare elsewhere no doubt.
I suspect that those schemes also have tenants who keep their properties in good condition and others who don't. I have known people who have kept their Housing Trust homes in excellent condition. The garden in one was magnificent and the tenant's pride and joy. 
But there are others that are, to put it mildly, an appalling mess. When they get vacated they need to be made habitable again. That costs money of course.
There was a piece in this morning's paper by one of the younger columnists talking about this. He was querying why nothing had been done when the relevant government department had been informed of the small mountain of rubbish which had been left behind.  He had not seen inside the house but was informed it was "no better".
What, he was asking, can be done about it?
We also have a "Newstart" scheme here. It is another name for dole payments for the unemployed. The scheme requires people to look for work and to be able to show they are looking for work - or so the theory goes.
The reality is that, while many people do meet their obligations under the scheme, there are others who do not and make no effort to do so. There are very few sanctions available if someone has decided that living on Newstart is preferable to seeking work. The Newstart payment is not high, indeed barely enough to live on. There have been calls to increase it and I would for the most part support those calls.  People who are genuinely trying to find work need to be able to dress for interviews and travel to them. These days they need a mobile phone so they can be contacted. They also have to house and feed themselves - and, all too often, their families. 
But, if you are not making the effort to find work? A rise in Newstart would be even more welcome wouldn't it? Should we send that small minority out to do the cleaning up of Housing Trust homes that have been trashed? Should we send them out to do some of the other cleaning and clearing up that will need to be done now?
They would not like it. There would be all sorts of objections and excuses and appeals.
The fires have caused billions of dollars in damages and more billions in lost revenue. Surely we can't expect people who do pay tax to support people who are capable of work but who make no effort to even try and find some? 
Is it wrong to expect that everyone under pension age who has the capacity to work should be at least trying to find work or helping in some other way? After all there are plenty of people of pension age volunteering one way or another. 

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A willing volunteer is probably more help than a conscripted, unskilled one, who does not realise the benefits s/he may gain.

It would take a lot of planning, organising, checking - and Australia seems spectacularly lacking in things like that at the moment.

But this is a good idea, fitting obvious needs with possible solutions. Fingers crossed!