An opposition spokesperson has warned an expanded work-for-the-dole program will probably not fix unemployment.

The comments were in response to a proposed Coalition plan forcing Newstart recipients to work in the local government and community sector in three month rotations.

City and regional councils may get a few extra hands, but several authorities say more needs to be done both to flesh out the plan and to really tackle the problem.

The Australian Services Union has heard no response from the Government over its plans for working conditions, pay and insurance in the scheme.

“The whole award system these days is about people who are employed in a specific industry, not by a specific employer,” ASU assistant secretary Greg McLean said.

“The local government rates of pay are binding by contractors and employers... in other words; everyone working in local government,” Mr McLean said, indicating unemployed work gangs would need to be paid as much as any other workers.

Opposition employment spokesperson Brendan O’Connor says work-for-the-dole schemes still function for the purpose they were created, based on the idea of mutual obligation for recipients of the dole.

“Where work for the dole works well is that it can cultivate a work culture and experience in those who do not have it,” he said.

“That's why we kept it in some form. Running the line that it alone is some sort of panacea for all matters besetting unemployed people is just crass.”