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Now is the time for employment providers to take a supportive role 

"It’s been clear for years now that employment services are not fit for purpose and do not meet the needs of Jobseekers. 
 
"The Government failed to adequately address a system that was clearly in crisis following the 2019 Senate inquiry that overwhelmingly demonstrated that the jobactive system is failing unemployed workers. 
 
"Centrelink and job providers play a critical role in millions of peoples’ lives and more people than ever are relying on our social safety net during this crisis. 
 
"In these unprecedented times we now have the opportunity to reform our system to play a supportive rather than punitive role.
 
"The Government has recognised that it's not the time to be penalising people and suspending their payments or putting their safety at risk by making people attend appointments and face to face meetings. 
 
"The Government needs to urgently roll out a communications campaign to employment service providers and jobseekers that provides up-to-date information about changes to requirements. 
 
"No jobseekers should be left in the dark about changes to their obligations during this difficult time.
 
"The pause on mutual obligations needs to be extended until the crisis is over. If the Government is serious about a public health response then that has to include people on income support. 
 
"We are still going to be in this health crisis on April 27. The Government knows this and should act to suspend mutual obligations and the compliance system for the period of the crisis.
 
"Giving unemployed workers standardised job plans, or asking them to apply for an arbitrary (albeit reduced) number of jobs each month, will not improve their chances of gaining employment.
 
"We need a new approach to helping people find and maintain work. We want to see more trust built between jobseekers and employment service providers which means getting rid of the compliance functions of employment service providers, giving people a better say over what’s in their job plan and ensuring employment service providers are providing individualised, responsive and tailored support to people. 
 
"Special exemptions and tailored supports must be given to people who don’t have the infrastructure to participate in online activities. Not everyone has access to the internet, a smartphone or computer, particularly those who have been living for a very long time on the former Newstart rate. 
 
"For people who have recently lost their jobs and are “job-ready”, employment service providers should help them maintain connection to the employment market. 
 
"Employment services should be connecting people with emerging opportunities such as call centres, coordinating out-reach and other community support.
 
"As it stands, Jobactive is undermined from the outset because the Government prioritises compliance over genuine assistance and providers are required to focus on enforcing compliance over assisting people into fulfilling employment pathways. 
 
"As more and more people seek support, I hope that as a community can see how important it is to have a strong social safety net."
 
Media Contact
Lucy Cowcher-Guthrie: 0418 401 180
 

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