Wednesday, 15 August 2018
Education and Employment References Committee; Reference
That the following matter be referred to the Education and Employment References Committee for inquiry and report by 5 December 2018:
The appropriateness and effectiveness of the objectives, design, implementation and evaluation of jobactive, with specific reference to:
(a) the nature and underlying causes of joblessness in Australia;
(b) the methods by which Australians gain employment and their relative effectiveness;
(c) the extent of consultation and engagement with unemployed workers in the design and implementation of jobactive;
(d) the ability of jobactive to provide long-term solutions to joblessness, and to achieve social, economic and cultural outcomes that meet the needs and aspirations of unemployed workers;
(e) the fairness of mutual obligation requirements, the jobactive Job Plan negotiation process and expenditure of the Employment Fund;
(f) the adequacy and appropriateness of activities undertaken within the Annual Activity Requirement phase, including Work for the Dole, training, studying and volunteering programs and their effect on employment outcomes;
(g) the impacts and consequences of the job seeker compliance framework;
(h) the appeals process, including the lack of an employment services ombudsman;
(i) the funding of jobactive, including the adequacy of the 'outcome driven' funding model, and the adequacy of this funding model to address barriers to employment;
(j) alternative approaches to addressing joblessness; and
(k) any other related matters.
The coalition government is focused on getting Australians into jobs, and our employment services programs play a vital part in achieving this outcome. The government's jobactive program began on 1 July 2015 and plays a critical role in ensuring that Australians can be placed in jobs. There have been over one million job placements through jobactive since the program began. To build on this strong record, the government has established an Employment Services Expert Advisory Panel to advise on the development of a future employment services model beyond 2020, chaired by Sandra McPhee. The coalition government also strongly believes in mutual obligation and is strengthening penalties to the small group of jobseekers who are persistently and wilfully non-compliant, whilst increasing support for jobseekers who genuinely try to meet their requirements.
Labor will oppose this motion. We acknowledge the concerns raised in this motion and have been speaking about these issues for many years. This is particularly true in relation to safety of the government's core of jobactive programs such as Youth Jobs PaTH and Work for the Dole. However, given the fact there are currently inquiries before the Senate Education and Employment References Committee that are looking at issues particularly relating to safety in work, including the exploitation of general and specialist cleaners working in retail chains for contracting and subcontracting cleaning companies, and the prevention, investigation and prosecution of industrial deaths in Australia, we do not believe it is necessary to establish yet another inquiry. As such, the proposed inquiry is ill timed. Labor does not support the government punishing people for being out of work instead of preparing them for a job.
Question agreed to.
An honourable senator interjecting—
I call it based on the noises I hear. I called it for the ayes. I'm pretty certain I got it correct.
An honourable senator interjecting—
It's not up to the chair. If you want to raise a point of order, then stand on your feet. I'm not going to provide a commentary on the divisions I call.