Communiqué for the New Employment Services Reference Group

Thursday 14 November 2019

A newly formed Reference Group has been established to oversee the development of the New Employment Services Model.

The inaugural meeting of the New Employment Services Trial Reference Group was held on 13 September 2019. The meeting, chaired by the Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business, was opened by Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business. Minister Cash spoke about the opportunity to modernise the employment services system to better help Australian job seekers find employment.

Employment Service Reform

Members discussed the recommendations made by the Expert Advisory Panel in its report to Government and discussed the lessons learned through the extensive consultation process undertaken in 2018.

The Government listened to the feedback provided through these consultations and began work designing a new employment services model. The fundamental principles recommended were to develop a model that helps those job seekers with multiple or severe barriers to employment to connect with employers and job opportunities.

The new model is being trialled in two areas within Australia, the Mid North Coast of New South Wales and Adelaide South in South Australia. The selection of these areas allows the new model to be tested in both a metropolitan and a regional location before a national rollout in July 2022.

The Chair noted the Reference Group is in a unique position to truly test, review, evaluate and design aspects of the system to inform the final architecture of a new employment services model that will benefit those who need it most.

Members noted the importance of employment services reform in developing a model that better meets the needs of job seekers, employers and other stakeholders. Members acknowledged a new model needs to balance the needs of these stakeholders and also be flexible and adaptable to changing technology.

Members also noted the objective of the new model to provide a digital platform to those participants who are able to self-manage, allowing employment service providers to focus on those participants who need more assistance to find and keep employment. The new model acknowledges these job seekers may need more intensive, individual servicing arrangements, including through face to face. Members also agreed a new system needs to reduce the complexity and administration for employers and employment service providers.

Roles and Responsibilities of Members

It was noted Reference Group members were chosen to participate given the wide reaching cohort of stakeholders they represent. Attachment A provides a list of representative organisations. Members discussed the benefit of including additional subject area experts in future meetings where needed to have a more detailed discussion on issues which may impact a certain cohort of job seeker or industry.

Forward Meeting Schedule

Members agreed to publish a forward meetings schedule to allow members of the public to feed any ideas to their representative organisation on the Reference Group.

The next meeting of the Reference Group will be held on 8 November 2019 and the following items will be discussed:

  • Stakeholder engagement/consultation
  • The payment model for employment service providers
  • The performance framework and evaluation strategy for the New Employment Services Trial
  • How digital literacy/capability will be assessed
  • How the government is using a user-centred design approach to developing the policy behind employment services
  • The online resources and digital dashboard which is available for job seekers and employers to use.

The forward agenda for the meeting on 4 December 2019 is anticipated to cover:

  • Evaluation activities to be undertaken throughout the Trial
  • Digital training which will be available to all job seekers
  • The activities which job seekers will need to undertake as part of their job searching efforts
  • The outcomes of the current Online Employment Services Trial
  • How the new model will effectively engage more employers
  • Labour market presentation

Further communiques and updates will be published after each meeting providing a high level review of what was discussed.


Attachment A

The New Employment Services Reference Group comprises peak organisations representing job seekers, employers and employment service providers. If you have a matter which you would like discussed at an upcoming Reference Group meeting, please contact your representative organisation as listed below.




Mr Nathan Smyth

Department of Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business

Employer/Business Representation

Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry

Business Council of Australia

Job Seeker Representation

Australian Council of Social Services

Australian Unemployed Workers Union

Independent Indigenous representative (Spotless)

National Social Security Rights Network

Settlement Council of Australia

Brotherhood of St Laurence

Employment Service Provider representation

Jobs Australia

National Employment Services Association

National NEIS Association