In the year ahead, the Department will continue to work closely with jobactive providers to ensure that the program delivers high-quality services that meet the needs of employers, activate job seekers and achieve sustainable job outcomes, particularly for disadvantaged job seekers. Building on progress in 2016–17, employment programs for young people and parents will continue to be a priority so that these people have the opportunities and support they need to transition to employment, education or self-employment.
From 1 July 2017, the Department is implementing the two-year Seasonal Work Incentives for Job Seekers Trial. The trial offers incentives to support eligible job seekers from jobactive and Transition to Work in taking up short-term seasonal work in the horticultural industry. It complements Harvest Labour Services and the Seasonal Worker Programme.
During the year to come, the Department will also be implementing a range of measures announced in the 2017–18 Budget to provide more support for people transitioning to employment, increase the consistency of participation expectations for job seekers and provide more effective compliance arrangements.
Work will be done to expand ParentsNext nationally, with delivery to begin on 1 July 2018. This will help reduce welfare dependency and child poverty, and help increase labour force participation by females and Indigenous Australians.
The mature-age job seeker package, which includes a new Career Transition Assistance Program, enhancements to the National Work Experience Program and new Pathway to Work pilots from 1 July 2018, will provide more opportunities for mature-age Australians to reskill.
In parallel with administering the current arrangements during 2017–18, the Department will introduce a better targeted job seeker compliance framework, to start on 1 July 2018. This will focus compliance resources and apply more effective penalties to the persistently non-compliant, while reducing administration and the chance of financial penalty for the majority of job seekers, who genuinely try to meet their requirements.
The Department will also implement a range of Closing the Gap—Employment Services measures to give Indigenous Australians access to culturally tailored support to help accelerate progress towards achieving parity in employment outcomes. The changes include immediate access to wage subsidies from 1 January 2018, removing the need to serve six months in employment services, and employers receiving up to $10,000 (GST inclusive), up from $6,500 (GST inclusive), for employing an Indigenous Australian.
In addition, the Department will increase the flexibility of the Employment Fund from 1 July 2018 so that Indigenous Australians participating in jobactive and their employers will have increased access to mentoring, culturally appropriate pre-employment training and work trials through the fund.