The Coalition Government will transform Australia’s employment services model to deliver better outcomes for both job seekers and Australian employers as part of our plan for a stronger economy.
Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations, the Hon Kelly O’Dwyer MP, said the Government is embarking on the biggest reform of employment services since 1998.
“Our changes are the most extensive shake-up of employment services in 20 years – empowering job seekers who are job-ready and prioritising support for those who face the greatest barriers,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
“Under the Coalition there are more people in work than ever before and more than 1.2 million jobs created since we came to Government in 2013. Welfare dependency has also been reduced to its lowest level in 30 years.”
“Whilst the Coalition Government’s employment services system, jobactive, has performed better than its predecessor programs and achieved strong results in getting people off welfare and into work, with almost 1.3 million job placements since July 2015, we want to see even more Australians enter meaningful, long term work.”
The new model will have a more comprehensive assessment system to better identify the support that job seekers need to find work, whilst working to support the employment needs of employers.
“We are embarking on a significant and ambitious change that will provide a better future for millions of Australians,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
“Job seekers, during consultations on the new model, told us they want training and work experience, they want more autonomy and choice and more visibility over the system. Employers told us they need high quality candidates for the right job, at the right time. The new system will completely transform the program to deliver for both job seekers and employers.”
The Government will harness the benefits of digital technology to help job ready job seekers to self-service with a new digital platform to better match job ready job seekers to suitable vacancies and allow them to access the training they need when they need it. Importantly, job seekers will still be able to speak to someone if they require advice, guidance or technical support.
Savings from digital servicing will be reinvested in the system to provide a more intensive, targeted and tailored face-to-face service for those who need extra help in addressing their barriers to finding a job.
“More resources will be available to reinvest in individually tailored support for more disadvantaged job seekers with multiple barriers to entry,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
“Long term unemployment has negative impacts on individuals, families and communities. It is critical that we do everything we can to provide the assistance that job seekers need to successfully transition to sustainable employment.”
The new system will also work better for employers by creating new online tools to help employers search for candidates for free, enabling them to meet skills shortages faster. It will also provide easier access to the range of support available to assist with employing a job seeker and will create incentives for providers to build better relationships with employers and service their employment needs.
The Government will also modernise its commitment to mutual obligation, providing more flexibility and diversity around the activities job seekers are expected to do, allowing activities to be better tailored to individual circumstances. Our new approach to mutual obligation will also encourage job seekers to take active steps to improve their employment prospects earlier than under the current framework.
“The community rightly expects that people on welfare will do all they can to find work and mutual obligation requirements remain a central tenet of our approach,” Minister O’Dwyer said.
“But not only will our changes make mutual obligation activities more effective and targeted, it will reduce unsuitable applications to small businesses, reducing their burden and removing red tape.”
The Government’s new model will also be more contestable and flexible, making it easier for employment services providers to enter and exit. Under the new model, a licencing framework and a tough new performance regime will drive better outcomes and ensure providers are better meeting the needs of users. Providers who do not meet these standards will not have their licenses renewed.
The Government will now commence a trial of the once in a generation reform in two regions – Adelaide South and New South Wales’ Mid North Coast – from 1 July 2019.
During the trial the existing jobactive contracts will be extended for two years, with the new model commencing nationally from July 2022.
“There is nothing more important and fundamental to a person’s overall wellbeing than a job. It delivers financial security, independence and opportunity.”
“As a Government, we cannot consign people to a life of welfare. Our track record shows that only a Coalition Government can deliver on this,” Minister O’Dwyer concluded.