Outcome 1 aims to foster a productive and competitive labour market through employment policies and programs that assist job seekers into work, meet employer needs and increase Australia’s workforce participation.
Our strategies to meet this outcome in 2016–17 were:
- continuing to refine the jobactive system so that it delivers effective and efficient employment services that help more job seekers find and keep a job and meet the needs of job seekers and employers
- making improvements to wage subsidies to encourage more businesses to employ eligible job seekers so that they can expand their businesses and help boost the economy
- supporting young people and parents to prepare for employment through the continued delivery of the Transition to Work services, the Empowering YOUth Initiatives and ParentsNext
- implementing the measures in the Government’s Youth Employment Package to increase employment opportunities for young job seekers—the Youth Jobs PaTH focuses on employability skills training; internships; the Youth Bonus wage subsidy; and an employer mobilisation strategy
- providing work-like experiences for job seekers so that they can improve their job prospects and develop their employability skills through the National Work Experience Programme or Work for the Dole activities in their community
- developing policies to improve workforce participation opportunities, particularly for young and mature-age people, Indigenous Australians, migrants, refugees, women and parents
- encouraging entrepreneurship and self-employment among young people by expanding the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme and providing nationally accredited training, mentoring and business advice to assist participants to start and manage their own small businesses
- maintaining the job seeker compliance framework so that it provides the necessary incentive for job seekers to comply with their mutual obligation requirements
- monitoring labour market conditions in Australia and providing policy advice to the Government to enable employment services to respond to emerging labour market and economic developments
- working closely with other government agencies to deliver coordinated employment services, improve the skills and work experience of job seekers, and reduce welfare dependency
- pursuing and maintaining collaborative relationships with external parties and international forums, including the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Asia–Pacific Economic Cooperation forum and the G20, to exchange best practices, ideas and research and inform the domestic evidence base.
- In 2016–17, the jobactive initiative continued to deliver strong performance in job placements and sustained employment outcomes.
- As part of the Government’s broader Youth Employment Package, the Department successfully implemented the Youth Jobs PaTH (Prepare–Trial–Hire) and Encouraging Entrepreneurship and Self-Employment measures, as well as introducing the Employer Mobilisation Strategy.
- The Transition to Work service has been successful in helping young people aged 15 to 21 years become job-ready and move into work or education. The service achieved its ambitious performance targets for 2016–17, which were set at 25 per cent above historic levels. Early survey data show almost 80 per cent of participants were satisfied or very satisfied with the overall quality of the services delivered.
- Round two of the Empowering YOUth Initiatives saw 21 initiatives selected to deliver a range of innovative projects to help young people aged 15 to 24 years who are unemployed or at risk of unemployment move into employment or onto the pathway to employment. An innovative co‑design workshop was included as part of the process to strengthen the new ideas and evaluation of the initiatives.
- The Department worked collaboratively with other agencies to improve servicing arrangements for vulnerable groups—including Indigenous Australians, ex-offenders and refugees—to lead to better employment outcomes.
- The Department provided policy advice that contributed to several measures announced in the 2017–18 Budget. Initiatives to be implemented in the coming year include the following:
- the $263 million national expansion of ParentsNext, which will help about 68,000 parents with young children plan and prepare for employment. The expanded ParentsNext will be delivered in two streams—one targeted at the most disadvantaged parents nationally and a more intensive service to be delivered in the 10 existing locations and a further 20 locations where a high proportion of Parenting Payment recipients are Indigenous Australians
- the $110 million Mature Age Job Seeker Package, to better support mature-age job seekers in finding work
- the new, targeted job seeker compliance framework that will place greater emphasis on re‑engagement for the majority of job seekers who generally meet their requirements, while introducing more effective sanctions for the small minority of non‑genuine job seekers
- the $55.7 million Closing the Gap Employment Services Package, to help more Indigenous Australians into work. The package provides more immediate access to wage subsidies and more culturally tailored support through jobactive, including access to mentoring and trialling the delivery of jobactive by the Yarrabah community. The package also includes access to intensive servicing through the Transition to Work program for all Indigenous young people who are not in work or studying, and better support for Indigenous prisoners to help them find work once they are released from prison
- strengthening participation requirements for job seekers aged 30 years and above
- introduction of the Work First measure, which will help job seekers find work faster by encouraging them to connect with their jobactive provider sooner.
- In the latter part of 2016–17, the Department held extensive consultations and information sessions with the horticultural sector and employment services providers ahead of implementation of the two-year Seasonal Work Incentives for Job Seekers Trial from 1 July 2017.
- Implementation of Youth Jobs PaTH involved extensive stakeholder consultation, changes to the Department’s IT systems and introducing financial incentives for participants, host businesses, employers and employment services providers. The Department developed and communicated a range of messages and materials for stakeholders and is continuing to increase provider awareness and understanding of the program and its individual elements.
- When the PaTH internship program started in April 2017, legislation to ensure that the $200 incentive payment would not affect a participant’s income support was still before the Parliament. Manual processes were developed to support the program’s introduction. Legislation came into effect on 19 May 2017 allowing PaTH interns to receive the maximum financial benefit.
- Demand for Transition to Work services was higher than expected and could have affected the ability of some providers to maintain intensive servicing. Providers and the Department implemented a range of strategies, including increasing the use of group activities and reducing the focus on attracting additional disengaged young people not on income support.