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Catholic Commission attacks Govt attitude on welfare
    The Catholic church has again attacked the government's attitude towards welfare reform as Employment Services Minister Tony Abbott signalled plans to ensure the unemployed are not idle.
    Australian Catholic Social Welfare Commission chief executive Toby O'Connor said today an extension of mutual obligation policies and harsh penalties to sole parents would do nothing to address the problems facing many people.
    He said a new report for the Australian Local Government Association showing unemployment in a majority of regions was above 10% proved many people faced a vicious cycle of disadvantage.
    "The government's version of mutual obligation in this appalling, regionally divided labour market sends the unemployed to seek out non-existent jobs, punishes them when they fail and then statistically denies their very existence," he said in a statement.
    Mr Abbott said the fight against idleness was a key part of the government's response to the McClure report on welfare reform, which is expected to be released in two stages.