The Albanese Labor Government’s second Budget will improve workplace safety, introduce better protections for Pacific Island workers and help more job seekers find secure jobs.
The Government has already delivered ambitious improvements to the workplace relations system with our Secure Jobs, Better Pay laws – designed to get wages moving, close the gender pay gap and improve job security.
We are continuing this work with consultation on further changes to close the loopholes undermining pay and conditions such as wage theft, labour hire rorts, casualisation and the absence of minimum standards for workers in the gig economy.
The 2023-24 Budget will improve workplace safety with a series of measures:
- Tackling silicosis: The Government will provide an extra $10 million to tackle silicosis. This will include expanding the functions of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency to include silicosis and silica-related diseases. We will also support Safe Work Australia social partners to engage in national awareness and behaviour change initiatives. This investment is in addition to the measures announced earlier this year - in partnership with the states and territories – including consideration of a ban on engineered stone products.
- National Construction Industry Forum: The Government will provide $4.4 million to establish the National Construction Industry Forum, which will provide advice on key challenges facing the building and construction industry, including workplace safety, culture, skills, productivity and gender equality. The Forum was a key outcome of the 2022 Jobs and Skills Summit and will commence after July 2023.
- Work Health and Safety support: The Government will provide $2 million over two years to support new Commonwealth Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations on managing psychosocial hazards at work. Funding will go towards educating the providers who train Health and Safety Representatives to perform their statutory functions in relation to psychosocial hazards.
The Government will also provide $760,000 to support a review of modern awards, to be conducted by the Fair Work Commission.
In the Employment portfolio, the Government is providing more targeted support for job seekers, young people, First Nations communities and Pacific Island workers:
- Enhancing PALM: The Government will provide an additional $166.7 million over four years, to enable the Department to bring domestic operations in-house, which will enhance scheme oversight and participant welfare. The Fair Work Ombudsman will also receive an additional $27.3 million to ensure workers’ rights are protected. These initiatives are in line with the Government’s election commitments to address Pacific economic challenges, ease Australia’s agricultural worker shortages and build a strong public service that delivers better outcomes for the community.
- ParentsNext: The Government will abolish the ParentsNext program from 1 July 2024 and develop a replacement, voluntary service which better meets the needs of parents. This is in response to recommendations from the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, the Women's Economic Equality Taskforce and the House of Representatives Select Committee on Workforce Australia Employment Services.
- Helping young people find work: Our youth unemployment rate remains stubbornly high, while industries like the care economy are struggling to find enough skilled workers. That’s why the Government will deliver on its election commitment by providing a grant opportunity of $15.2 million to support the establishment of Y Careers agency. The funding is expected to support up to 15,000 young people to pursue meaningful careers and provide employers with access to a new pipeline of talent within priority industries, with a focus on the care economy.
- Extending Time to Work: The Government will provide $5.7 million over two years from 2022-23 to continue supporting First Nations prisoners to connect with employment services and help more First Nations prisoners move from prison to paid work. This measure will extend the Time to Work Employment Service in nonremote areas to 30 June 2024. We will work in partnership with stakeholders to continue to improve prison to work transitions for First Nations people.
- Broome Employment Region: The Government is providing $5.6 million over five years from 2022-23 to provide continuity of employment services in the Broome Employment Region. The only Workforce Australia Services provider in Broome will be exiting the market later this year. This funding will ensure services continue for participants in the region and that future services are responsive to the needs of the local community, particularly First Nations people.
- Support for a net zero economy: The Government will enhance the Local Jobs Program to ensure it has the flexibility to respond with the support that local communities need as we shift to a net zero economy. Four employment regions will receive additional on-the-ground resources to plan for and optimise future opportunities.