Govt Backs Down on 40 Jobs a Month Plan
Tuesday, 7th October 2014 at 12:00 pm
The Federal Government has backed down on its controversial proposal to require unemployed people to apply for 40 jobs a month in order to keep receiving the dole, instead releasing what it calls a new job model.
Minister for Employment Senator Abetz said the Government had taken on board feedback received during the public consultation process about the draft proposals.
“The Government has made some changes in response to the feedback, including keeping job search at 20 jobs per month for most job seekers and allowing flexibility to tailor requirements to individual circumstances,” Senator Abetz said.
“The Government has also determined that decisions on penalties for failing to attend an appointment with an employment provider will continue to be made by the Department of Human Services.
“Sixty formal submissions were received on the proposed model from a wide range of parties including provider and consumer representatives and employers.
“There was broad support for the proposed model including the increased emphasis on payment for results, more flexible servicing, a greater focus on Indigenous job seekers and reduced red tape for providers.”
Senator Abetz released a new jobs model saying the Government is seeking to ensure that taxpayer funded employment services system is more efficient, effective and viable over the longer term.
The new model includes five year contracts with service agencies, a mid-contract price adjustment, a new regional loading and a change in the number and size of employment regions.
“The Government recognises that the new model represents a substantial overhaul of existing arrangements,” he said.
“It is important that there is good coverage and delivery of quality services in all employment regions. While preference will be given to organisations that can service an entire region, the tender has built in flexibility which allows organisations to bid to service part of an employment region if they wish.”
Assistant Minister Luke Hartsuyker said the changes have also been made to the purchasing process to encourage bids from partnerships and consortia which will assist small and specialist providers.
“The Government’s reforms will improve the operating environment for providers and significantly reduce the level of red tape and prescription in the model so that providers will be able to focus on what they do best – namely helping people to find and keep a job,” Hartsuyker said.
Information on the tender and purchasing process is available at www.tenders.gov.au and the tender closes on Monday 17 November 2014.
The Government said it is seeking to contract for the delivery of the following services: Employment Providers, Work for the Dole Coordinators, the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme, Harvest Labour Services and the National Harvest Labour Information Service.
The Federal Opposition said the Government has been left red-faced as it’s now been forced to listen to what the Opposition has said since the day this fanciful policy was announced – it just would not work.
“This back down came because the Government has caved into pressure from Labor, the business community and the general public. It seems everyone but the Government knew it would not help jobseekers find work and would entangle business in red tape,” Shadow Minister for Employment Brendan O’Connor said.
“The Opposition welcomes the Government’s retreat on behalf of Australian businesses that would have drowned in the red-tape of receiving 30 million job applications each and every month.
“We know this policy and this Budget is a stinker, that is why Labor made it clear we would not pass these unfair measures.”
Chief Executive of the Victorian Council of Social Services (VCOSS) Emma King said the Government's overall plan would not help young people find jobs.
“While we welcome the Commonwealth Government’s back down on the number of job applications unemployed people must undertake each month, there are other aspects of this plan that will likely hinder rather than help people find and keep work,” King said.
“The expansion of work for the dole programs and moves to force unemployed people to relocate to areas with higher employment rates are measures that run counter to what the evidence tells us actually works to assist people into employment.
“Work for the dole has been a spectacularly unsuccessful program at getting people into work and keeping them there. In 2011 Work for dole had a 22 per cent success rate in keeping young people in work or study after 6 months. By contrast, the recently defunded Youth Connections program had a 94 per cent success rate keeping people engaged after 6 months.
“Similarly, evidence shows that moving people from lower employment areas to those with higher employment is fraught with difficulty. A Productivity Commission report into Geographic Labour Mobility released earlier this year found that unemployed people face prohibitively high costs to relocate for work, that relocation creates significant disruption people’s lives, and many people’s job prospect do not improve after relocation.
“The six months unemployed young people are expected to go without income support has been widely and rightly criticised as harsh, unfair and a breach of Australia’s human rights obligations. If implemented it would only serve to consign young people to lives of poverty, disadvantage and long-term vulnerability.
“The Federal Government should follow the evidence on what works to support people into employment rather than taking a purely ideological approach which seeks to punish people for being unemployed.”