Sunday, 15 May 2022

    Jobseeker services shifting online

    A hidden $1.1 billion saving has sparked fears of cuts to services for Australians out of work despite a federal pledge to drive the unemployment rate to record lows by helping people find new jobs, the Sydney Morning Herald reports.

    The efficiency drive will shift 1.2 million job seekers to an online service in a bid to replace face-to-face advice from employment service providers paid by the government to help the unemployed.

    The savings were included in a series of measures listed in the federal budget outlining sweeping changes to the JobActive system used for two decades to place people in work.

    Community and employer groups are concerned the plan flouts a 2018 report to the government that said all the savings from the online model should be invested in better services for the long-term unemployed.

    “Now is the time to focus on investments in people who are unemployed or underemployed, rather than looking at it from a savings perspective,” said Sally Sinclair, chief executive of the National Employment Services Association.

    “One of the really important things in the reforms to employment services is for people to be able to access that personalised support if they are not getting what they need from the digital service.”

    Employers are warning of labour shortages as the economy rebounds but foreign workers cannot enter the country, fuelling a debate over the mix of support, incentives and obligations required to encourage more Australians to seek work.

    Australian Council of Social Service principal adviser Peter Davidson warned against using the efficiencies to withdraw support from more than 1 million people seeking work.

    “They need much more help than they get now from employment services, which are about policing unrealistic and punitive job search requirements, not improving work experience and skills,” he said.


    Job seekers to be switched to online service in hidden $1.1 billion budget (Sydney Morning Herald)


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