“Job ready” unemployed job seekers could be exempted from attending face-to-face appointments with job network providers, in an overhaul of the Jobactive system.
A review of the $7.3 billion employment service will recommend so-called stream A jobseekers – unemployed people using the service with few barriers to find work – to no longer need to show up in person for help looking for jobs.
Jobseekers would be enabled to search for jobs online or remotely under the new model, to divert resources to clients in stream B and C needing more support.
The overhaul of employment services will redraw contracts for Jobactive service providers from 2020, overseen by Employment Minister Kelly O’Dwyer.
Attendance requirements have been the largest source of complaints about the system from unemployed people in particular young jobseekers, who are required to use limited money including Centrelink’s Newstart allowance to attend appointments.
Social services advocates have welcomed the changes, claiming the system is “broken”.
“I think it’s a good move. We know that the Jobactive system doesn’t necessarily work,” Western Australian Council of Social Services (WACOSS) CEO Louise Giolitto said.
“It’s become much more about compliance.”
Ms Giolitto said the system was not enabling young jobseekers to find work.
“If you’re a stream A person, you’re actually talking they’re job ready and it’s questionable if the Jobactive actually helps you find work,” she said.
“It actually puts an extra hurdle in your way of having to attend appointments. So, it’s more about income control than actually assisting and supporting people find work.”
She said there were good Jobactive providers but they could only do what their contracts told them they needed to be doing.
“They’re working within the resources they actually have that I would also say some of them aren’t equipped to deal with some of the complex issues of those long-term unemployed people that come to their offices.”
Youth Futures CEO Mark Waite said the system did not necessarily work for young people.
“Coming from the perspective of the clients that we work with, we generally find Jobactives don’t do a great job with them,” Mr Waite said.
“That’s because young people require more help and support than Jobactives are usually able to provide.”
“Lots of them also find out because they’re also funded based on the outcomes, it’s really hard to engage young people with low numeracy low literacy, low skills, takes a lot of time. So the reward for them is minimal.”
However, he said the system had worked for some young people.
“We know of young people that have experienced quite a success going through Jobactive. So it works for some people, but not for others,” Mr Waite said.
Meanwhile, jobseeker Curtis said the system was a “hit and miss inconsistent process.”
“It’s been a poor service recently, just in the fact that wait time are long, you don’t get very good attention and you’re processed in and out of the centre very quickly,” he said.
“There’s no attention to detail in what you’re doing or what feedback you get given, so there’s a lack of personalised coaching in the job process.”
He said all jobseekers should be provided the same level of jobsearch help.
“I don’t think there should be an A, B or C system,” he said.
“Everyone should receive an equal level of support and not be categorised or placed in a box just because of what background or study, or how long they’ve been unemployed for.”