Release type: Joint Media Release


Strengthening Australia's employment services


The Hon Tony Burke MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for the Arts

The Albanese Labor Government’s Employment White Paper outlines eight principles to guide reforms to Australia’s employment services system, with a focus on better supporting people, while collaborating with employers and communities.  

It is time to rethink employment services. The system can be improved to help more Australians to connect with quality job opportunities, address structural barriers including skills, training and entrenched disadvantage, as well as assist employers to plan for and meet their labour and skills needs.  

The eight employment services principles set out in the Employment White Paper will guide the government’s consideration of the recommendations from the Parliamentary Inquiry into Workforce Australia Employment Services, scheduled for release later this year. 

The principles include: 

  1. Services are viewed as an investment that unlock individual potential, address employer needs and work with industry to bolster growth. 
  2. There is strong Australian Public Service stewardship in the system and the outcomes it delivers to ensure that individuals are not left behind. 
  3. Services protect the dignity and respect rights of individuals. 
  4. Services provide a pathway towards decent jobs that provide the flexibility and security that individuals need. 
  5. Employers use employment services to help meet their workforce needs, and can access guidance on innovative job design, recruitment practices and inclusive approaches to workforce development. 
  6. Employment services are designed through collaboration with individuals, employers and the community.  
  7. Services help people at the earliest opportunity, informed by fit-for-purpose assessment processes. 
  8. Reforms are grounded in evidence, high-quality evaluation and continuous learning and improvement. 

Consistent with our new reform principles, the Government will make changes to the Local Jobs Program to ensure more people can find work and the program meets community needs. 

This will include applying best-practice approaches to place-based policy development, including equipping local communities with relevant data, and broadening eligibility to enable more people looking for work to participate in the program

As part of these reforms, staff from the Australian Public Service will be deployed in three regions in Western Australia — Broome, Geraldton and Kalgoorlie.

By reforming Australia’s employment services system with a focus on better supporting individuals while collaborating with employers and communities, we can help realise our vision for a brighter working future.

Quotes attributable to Tony Burke, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations:  

"I want to make sure that for people who are looking for work, we're removing barriers and getting them into jobs.  

"We have record-low unemployment in Australia at the moment. But we can't look at that and just say, job done.  

"We need to make sure we use this opportunity to support some of the most disadvantaged people to connect with jobs. 

"We want to design a system that is tailored to meet their needs too. If we do that we don't just help employers fill gaps with workers they're desperately looking for, but we change people's lives.  

"We give people an opportunity that they so desperately want that makes a difference, not simply for their financial security, but also for their direct participation in our communities and in the economy."

Quotes attributable to Jim Chalmers, Treasurer:  

“We want to help more Australians to grab the jobs and opportunities on offer and employment services is an important part of the story. 

“Improving our employment services system will help address entrenched community disadvantage and break down barriers to employment for people who are ready, willing and able to work. 

“Near-record low unemployment and record high labour force participation are some of our best defences against global economic volatility but we can’t see Australia’s remarkably strong labour market as an excuse to turn a blind eye to the kind of entrenched disadvantage we see in communities right across the country.” 

“The principles we outline in the Employment White Paper today will guide reforms that better match employers keen for more workers with job seekers keen to make a contribution.”