Jobs Australia provides feedback on the Exposure Draft for ES 2015-2020

In responding to the Government's Exposure Draft on Employment Services for 2015-2020, Jobs Australia has expressed some support for certain features, but also highlighted some serious concerns about others.  We have also responded to the arrangements for NEIS.

The main likes and dislikes were summarised in a cover letter (attached below), with further detail provided in a more comprehensive report which is attached here.  We have also attached our submission on the arrangements for NEIS in the Exposure Draft.

In particular, we expressed support for

  • A regional loading, to account for the additional costs of service provision in regional areas;
  • Indexation, to ensure that the fees paid by government keep up with the cost of service provision; and
  • Less red-tape and prescription, with greater flexibility for providers to innovate and tailor their service offerings and to reduce the time and money spent on administration.

Unfortunately the list of dislikes is not so readily summarised. But the key concerns include:

  • The measures applying to job seekers under 30 years of age;
  • The new role for employment providers in making decisions about the application of benefit sanctions;
  • The combined impact of a tighter payment model and larger contract areas;
  • The lack of time to allow for partnerships to be negotiated; and
  • Reduced flexibility with respect to a range of interventions, including the vast expansion of mandatory Work for the Dole and the extremely tight limitations on the provision of training.

In response to these issues, we have recommended that government reconsider the regions, and perhaps delay their introduction. The current ESA structure could be maintained, at least for the time being, to limit the upheaval to the industry and allow the time for partnerships to be done properly. If a move to regions is flagged early and providers have time to prepare, then it could be completed at a later date.

Jobs Australia also made some specific comments on the new arrangements for NEIS with a particular focus on the proposed changes to the funding arrangements.

The full feedback is available in the documents which can be accessed below.