According to the Sydney Morning Herald, our Prime Minister Tony Abbott has drafted legislation to enable his green army of young people across Australia to plant trees, fence and clear waterways – albeit for pay as low as half the minimum wage. And with no workplace rights.
Under legislation introduced by Environment Minister Greg Hunt on Wednesday, green army participants – who will be aged 17 to 24 – will work up to 30 hours a week.
Young people who fill the green army’s ranks will be paid about half the minimum wage, earning between $304.20 and $493.70 a week.
The wages compare with $622.20 a week for the minimum wage and the basic rate of $250.50 a week for a single person getting Newstart, or the dole. The scheme is modelled on John Howard’s Green Corps, and will be an alternative to work-for-the-dole programs.
These participants will be exempt from workplace laws including the Fair Work Act and the Work Health and Safety Act.
They will have the option to undertake some study associated with the program, but this will be subtracted from Centrelink payments.
Greg Hunt stated that the program is not an “employment program” but rather an “environmental and training program”.
This program will focus on graduates, the unemployed, people with disabilities and indigenous Australians.
Would you work for this program?