Controversial changes to the work-for-the-dole scheme would bury Illawarra businesses in an avalanche of paperwork because they would require the region's jobseekers to apply for more than 3.7 million jobs a year.
The changes, which require applicants to apply for up to 40 jobs a month, are due to be rolled out nationwide from July 1, 2015.
Using the Illawarra's latest unemployment figures, the region's 7800 unemployed people would generate 312,000 applications each month under the new scheme.
Put another way, that's 3.7 million extra resumes the region's recruiters would have to sift through each year.
South Coast Labour Council secretary Arthur Rorris labelled the government's target punitive and said it would create masses of red tape.
"According to those figures, on a 38-hour week and the assumption of a 10-minute assessment per application, the Prime Minister has created 312 jobs out of red tape in this region," he said.
"And if you take an average pay of $60,000 a year, the total cost of this scheme for businesses would be $18 million."
Mr Rorris said it was "ridiculous" to place these costs on businesses, especially because Prime Minister Tony Abbott had promised to create jobs and stimulate the economy through deregulation.
"[Mr Abbott] has created a red-tape factory for small businesses and recruitment, and I suspect that many employers will now not advertise," he said.
"The moment they do they're going to be flooded with hundreds of applications and they're not going to have time to actually work out which ones are actually competitive or serious."
The new scheme is likely to generate several hundred applications for every Illawarra job available.
Based on IRIS Research's monitoring of online and print job ads, and accounting for the possible duplication of the same ads week to week, there are currently about 1000 to 1500 new jobs advertised a month.
Under the new scheme, this would mean businesses could expect to receive an average of 208 to 312 extra applications for each job vacancy.
Abbott defends changes
Prime Minister Tony Abbott says looking for a job should be a full-time job.
Mr Abbott is defending the Coalition’s proposed new rules for jobseekers, which will require them to apply for 40 jobs a month in order to claim unemployment benefits.
Mr Abbott believes the new requirements are the least taxpayers expect.
‘‘We want people to have the chance to show the world what they can do, not just what they can’t do,’’ the Prime Minister said on Wednesday.
‘‘Looking for work should be a full-time job if it’s being done on the commonwealth taxpayer.’’ AAP