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The Future of our Employment Services System

The Australian Greens will build a new employment services system that assists people into fulfilling employment pathways and provides specialised help to those facing significant barriers. We want our new employment services system to achieve better outcomes for unemployed workers.

Our current employment services system, jobactive, is not fit for purpose and is failing unemployed workers. Australia currently spends less than half the OECD average onemployment services . The Greens want to see significant reform to Australia’s 1 employment services system. We will ensure the views and experiences of unemployed workers who have engaged with employment service providers are taken into account. Australia is the only OECD country to outsource the entire delivery of publicly funded
employment services. The Greens will ensure the public service is responsible for delivering employment services to unemployed workers who face minimal barriers to employment.

The current rate of Newstart and Youth Allowance has not been increased in real terms since 1996 and more than half the number of people receiving Newstart live below the poverty line. Poverty is a significant barrier to employment. The Greens will immediately raise Newstart and Youth Allowance by $75 a week to ensure that people facing barriers to employment are not condemned to live in poverty.

Jobactive further entrenches economic disadvantage by enforcing mutual obligation requirements on unemployed people. The evidence shows that mutual obligations, also known as welfare conditionality, don’t work in assisting people to find paid work and can lead to increased poverty and poorer health outcomes. The Greens believe that mutual obligations don’t have a place in our social security system. We will immediately abolish the Targeted Compliance Framework from all employment related programs, including Jobactive, PaTH, Work for the Dole and ParentsNext. The Greens will ensure that our employment services enable people to find work while being treated with dignity and respect.

Jobactive is failing to support people who are most disadvantaged to find employment. Recent research shows 64% of people receiving Newstart and Youth Allowance were on these payments for more than 1 year, 44% for over 2 years and 15% for over 5 years. Our new employment services system must be designed to identify a person’s strengths and barriers to finding work, while also ensuring unemployed workers are comfortable disclosing personal
barriers that impact on their ability to find work. The Greens will use existing employment services funding to develop a specific employment
stream that supports long term and very long term unemployed workers that includes tailored supports and assistance. We will also increase investment in specialised services, such as intensive case management, for long term unemployed workers and for people who face complex and multiple barriers to employment.

We know that certain cohorts of people face significant challenges in the labour market. Yet jobactive is not effectively meeting the needs of unemployed workers with disability, young people, older people, refugees and complex barriers. We need a system that takes into account individual needs and circumstances, and is tailored accordingly. The Greens will ensure our future employment services system supports people with disability, young people, older people and refugees.

Employment services consultants play an essential role in helping unemployed workers find work. In the current system, employment consultants experience large caseloads, inadequate training and high staff turnover rates. To ensure unemployed workers are adequately supported, the Greens will introduce a minimum standard of skills and training for all employment services consultants. We will also ensure the development of a vocational training course or tertiary education course for employment services consultants.

Job plans are currently used to record a person’s obligations and voluntary activities under jobactive. Giving unemployed workers standardised job plans, or asking them to apply for an arbitrary number of jobs each month, is not improving people’s changes of gaining employment. We believe people should have a say over what’s in their job plan, and that these plans are tailored to meet individual circumstances. The Greens will ensure that job plans under a new system are individualised, flexible and include long term employment goals and training goals.


1 ACOSS, 2018, Submission to the senate inquiry on the appropriateness and effectiveness of the objectives, design, implementation
and evaluation of jobactive,
2 Dan Finn, 2011, Sub-contracting in Public Employment Services: Review of research findings and literature on recent trends and
business models, p34
3 ACOSS, Raise the rate,

4 ACOSS and Jobs Australia, 2018, ‘Faces of Unemployment’, p4,




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