The Australian Government will release today an exposure draft of the purchasing arrangements for a new employment services model to operate from 1 July 2015.
The Minister for Employment, Eric Abetz and the Assistant Minister for Employment, Luke Hartsuyker, said the Government will invest $5.1 billion over three years from 2015-16 to reinvigorate employment services for the benefit of job seekers and employers.
“The Australian Government is committed to helping more Australians move from welfare to work and increasing workforce participation,” Senator Abetz said.
“In order to achieve this, it is vital that our publicly funded employment system delivers high-quality services to job seekers and effective, tailored support to employers.
“The current Job Services Australia system has lost focus and become mired in red tape.
"As a result, the number of people moving into work under the current arrangements has steadily decreased.
“The Government is committed to a new approach that will deliver better outcomes for job seekers and employers, and better value for taxpayers’ money.”
Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker said the model included a new mix of incentives, services and payments to drive stronger performance.
“Mutual obligation requirements have been simplified and extended to ensure more job seekers remain active and engaged while looking for work,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“Most job seekers will be required to look for up to 40 jobs per month, and most job seekers under 50 years of age will be required to participate in Work for the Dole for either 15 or 25 hours per week for six months each year, depending on their age.
“A new Work for the Dole Coordinator will be created in each employment region to source places for participants, and to work with host organisations and providers.”
Mr Hartsuyker said the new model also provided clearer incentives to ensure job seekers and employers receive high-quality services from providers.
“Resources are targeted at those job seekers who need the greatest support to find and keep a job,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“The rules relating to training have been tightened to ensure that job seekers are not doing training for training’s sake.
“Fees and payments to providers have been restructured to promote a stronger focus on meeting the needs of employers and achieving longer-term job outcomes.
"There will be a flat administration fee paid in advance every six months, and a sliding scale of outcome payments at four, 12 and 26 weeks.
“New wage subsidies will encourage employers to hire, train and retain job seekers.
"This includes the Restart subsidy for mature-age workers, a subsidy to support young job seekers under 30 and a new subsidy to assist the long-term unemployed.
“New targets for Indigenous job seekers will be introduced to ensure that more Indigenous Australians are in work and reaping the benefits of a job.”
In addition, there are reforms to help providers run their own businesses more efficiently and effectively.
“The new employment services contract will be for five years, and a new mid-term adjustment for Employment Providers will be introduced so services can be maintained over the life of the contract,” Mr Hartsuyker said.
“The number of employment regions will be reduced, and a new regional loading will be introduced for Employment Providers in certain regions in recognition that labour market conditions vary across Australia.
“There will also be a significant reduction in red tape and greater flexibility so that providers can tailor services to the needs of job seekers and providers."
In addition to Employment Provider services, the Government has also released details on the proposed purchasing arrangements for Work for the Dole Coordinators, the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, Harvest Labour Services and the National Harvest Labour Information Service.
Details are included in the Exposure Draft for Employment Services 2015-20 Purchasing Arrangements at www.tenders.gov.au and comments on the proposed arrangements are requested by 25 August 2014.
Further information is available at www.employment.gov.au.