On April 19, the first anniversary of the tragic death of Josh Park-Fing at his Work for the Dole site in Toowoomba, the Australian Unemployed Workers' Union held rallies in Sydney and Melbourne to demand Justice For Josh and that the dangerous, discriminatory and exploitative Work for the Dole and Community Development Program be shut down.
Park-Fing’s family is still waiting for answers. Work for the Dole assigned him to pick up rubbish at the Toowoomba showground, where he suffered an as yet unexplained fatal head injury.
Repeated requests by the Unemployed Workers’ Union to see an internal report on the safety procedures in place at the job site have been denied. Employment minister Michaelia Cash has not yet complied with a Senate motion directing her to produce all documents relating to the teen’s death. Cash and the federal government say it would be inappropriate while the investigation is still underway.
Speakers at the Melbourne rally outside the State Library of Victoria included Ged Kearney, ACTU President; Sophie Johnstone, NUS President; David Thompson, Jobs Australia CEO; Lisa Newman, CPSU; Godfrey Moase, NUW; and Owen Bennett, Australian Unemployed Workers' Union President.
Speakers at the Sydney rally outside Darlinghurst Centrelink office included Ed Husic, Shadow Minister for Employment Services; Mark Morey, Unions NSW secretary; Greens Senator Lee Rhiannon; Peter Davidson, ACOSS; Raul Bassi and Lizzy Jarred, Indigenous Social Justice Association; and Bill Keats, Australian Unemployed Workers' Union.