Australia's Productivity Commission has found that half of the 900,000 men outside the workforce and not trying to get in, are on disability benefits. It claims, however, that most are not severely disabled and could find work if they had the motivation and the opportunity.
The Commission, in the first government inquiry into the huge increase in male joblessness, found that 9 percent of men aged 25 to 44 are not even looking for work - up from 2 percent in the seventies.
How does New Zealand compare?
Comparative figures at June 2005;
NZ Sickness and Invalid benefits 118,362
Australia Disability pension 706,800
NZ Unemployment benefit 50,714
Australia Newstart 453,700
New Zealand has a slightly lower percentage of people aged 15-64 at 66.1 percent compared to Australia's 67.3 percent but, for the purpose of comparison, roughly speaking the Australian caseloads should be 5 times more than NZ's. In fact their incapacity benefits are 6 times greater and unemployment, 9 times greater.
I suppose we should be celebrating our better performance. Does it make up for the cricket?
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