Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Wage Connect program assisting homeless job seekers

Ministers:

The Hon Kate Ellis MP
Minister for Employment Participation

The new $95 million Wage Connect initiative is making a real difference to unemployed and homeless Australians.

Minister for Employment Participation Kate Ellis and Minister for Housing and Homelessness Brendan O’Connor have welcomed early figures that show the Australian Government’s Wage Connect initiative has helped change the lives of some 279 homeless Australians.

“In just 10 weeks Wage Connect has helped nearly 2,500 people into paying jobs, with 279 of these people identifying themselves as homeless,” Ms Ellis said.

“Wage Connect is helping unemployed Australians who face multiple barriers to finding work, to find and keep a job. People dealing with accommodation issues represent around 10 per cent of the Wage Connect placements.

“Securing a job — and the resulting pay packet, social connectedness and skill development that comes with that — can be a turning point for many Australians experiencing or facing homeless.”

The Wage Connect initiative provides a wage subsidy to eligible businesses which employ  people who have been receiving income support for two years and have had no or minimal work experience in that time.

Job seekers gain important skills, while the subsidy of around $5700 helps offset employers’ costs of training and wages for the first six months people are employed.

Mr O’Connor said that homelessness was a significant barrier to employment for too many Australians and the Government was committed to addressing the complex issue.

“This Labor Government believes all Australians deserve a safe and secure home, and we understand how hard it is to find and hold down a job without one,” Mr O’Connor said.

“We have made reducing homelessness a national priority.

“Since 2008, we have invested $5 billion in additional funding in homelessness as part of our commitment to an ambitious, long-term plan to halve the rate of homelessness and offer supported accommodation to all those who seek it by 2020.”

The Government has also funded $538 million toward the $1.1 billion National Partnership Agreement on Homelessness. Through this NPAH, more than 180 new or expanded services have been rolled out across the country.

Job seekers interested in participating in Wage Connect should speak to their employment services provider.

Interested employers who would like to learn more about Wage Connect can visit www.deewr.gov.au/wageconnectsubsidy or contact a local employment services provider on 13 17 15.