News National Government denies embarrassing welfare hotspots
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Government denies embarrassing welfare hotspots

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One JobKeeper recipients was left confused after being made to sign a job plan meant for JobSeekers. Photo: AAP
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The Turnbull government denies it meant to embarrass entire suburbs by releasing information about welfare ‘bludger’ hotspots.

The figures show Queensland’s Caboolture, Blacktown in Sydney’s west and Mildura in Victoria top the list of concentrations of people consistently missing appointments and job interviews.

“This is not embarrassing the suburbs. This is simply pointing out where the numbers lie. Unfortunately, there are hotspots in this country,” Human Services Minister Alan Tudge told the Channel Nine on Tuesday.

Mr Tudge said the results show why the government’s proposal for a demerit point system is needed.

Those who rack up four demerit points will then enter the “three strikes” territory and face climbing penalties, including losing half their fortnightly payment for their first strike without a reasonable excuse.

Nationals MP Andrew Broad, whose Victorian electorate includes Mildura – which has the state’s highest rate of welfare non-compliance – says there are job opportunities in his region.

“If you are receiving an unemployment benefit in Mildura we expect you to have a mutual obligation to be giving back and to go from being an unemployed person to being a job seeker,” Mr Broad told reporters in Canberra.

“We do have a job for you.”

Australians expect those receiving benefits to be compliant with the rules, he said.