Release type: Media Release


Budget 2019 — Significant reforms to boost Australian jobs


The Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP
Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations
Minister for Women

The Morrison Government continues to put in place the right economic settings to create more jobs as part of our plan for a stronger economy.

The 2019-20 Budget delivers a once in a generation reform of employment services for Australian job seekers making it easier for employers to connect with Australians looking for work, better connects farmers and regional workers, and protects our most vulnerable workers from exploitation.

A new employment services model to create job opportunities for all Australians

Under the Liberal National Government, there are more Australians in work than ever before, with more than 1.2 million jobs created since we came to Government in 2013, the majority of which have been full-time jobs. Unemployment is at its equal lowest level in a decade – at 4.9 per cent – and jobs market participation is at a record high.

The Government’s employment services system, jobactive, has achieved strong results with around 1,000 unemployed Australians placed into jobs every day. But there is more work to do to ensure job seekers – particularly young people and the long-term unemployed – find and retain meaningful work.

This Budget invests $249.8 million over five years from 2018-19 to pilot transformational change to Australia’s employment services model to deliver better outcomes for both job seekers and employers as part of our plan for a stronger economy.

The new model will empower job seekers who are job ready and digitally literate to self-serve via a new digital platform. As a result, more resources will be available to reinvest in even greater support for those who need it, including disadvantaged job seekers and the long-term unemployed.

The new system will also work better for employers by creating new online tools to help employers search for job candidates for free, enabling them to meet skills shortages faster.

A trial of the new model will commence in Adelaide South in South Australia and Mid North Coast in New South Wales on 1 July 2019. During the trial the existing jobactive contracts and complementary jobactive programs will be extended for two years, with the new model commencing nationally from July 2022.

Encouraging Australian job seekers to take up seasonal work

The Government will invest $24.1 million to encourage more Australians to take up seasonal work. The existing Harvest Labour Services (HLS) will expand to include an additional five horticultural regions experiencing significant seasonal labour shortages. The HLS fulfils an important role in matching workers with seasonal work opportunities so that the harvest can be brought to market.

HLS providers will also receive new financial incentives when they place and keep Australian job seekers in seasonal work, helping them to gain work experience and increase their competitiveness in the labour market.

The Government will also work with industry to promote seasonal work opportunities.

Helping smaller farmers get on with the job

A 12-month pilot will be introduced in up to three regions from 1 May 2019 to complement the Seasonal Worker Programme, helping smaller farmers in regional areas address agricultural workforce shortages. The pilot will allow for greater flexibility and responsiveness in placing seasonal workers where they are needed, while ensuring strong worker protections.

Protecting vulnerable workers

The Morrison Government has no tolerance for exploitation in Australian workplaces and is continuing to take action to protect vulnerable workers.

The Government will clamp down on sham contracting practices by introducing tougher penalties and funding a dedicated sham contracting unit within the Fair Work Ombudsman to better identify, prosecute and deter this unscrupulous behaviour, as well as undertake targeted education activities with employees and employers.

In response to the Migrant Workers' Taskforce Report released in March, the Government will further protect all workers by:

  • boosting resources for the Fair Work Ombudsman to investigate and recover underpayments and enforce workplace laws
  • establishing a National Labour Hire Registration Scheme to ensure compliance and transparency in the labour hire industry in high-risk sectors
  • undertaking an education campaign to raise migrant workers’ awareness and understanding of their rights under Australian workplace laws.

More jobs and protecting vulnerable workers is part of our plan for a stronger economy.