The Albanese Labor government is establishing a Select Committee of the House of Representatives to examine the implementation of Workforce Australia.
The Government believes in a robust and flexible mutual obligation system that gets people job ready while they’re claiming JobSeeker.
There are however some aspects of the new program we believe require fresh parliamentary scrutiny and oversight.
The previous Liberal and National government locked in Workforce Australia by signing more than $7 billion worth of contracts with providers just before the last election.
While they spent nearly two years designing and building the software for the new system, they did not properly explain it to the Australian people.
We are concerned we have ended up with a system that is driven more by the details of contracts with providers than the legislation the previous government brought to Parliament.
Anecdotally, it appears the user experience of the system varies wildly from person to person and provider to provider.
The new Select Committee will examine the first 12 months of the new system.
It will take evidence on where best practice is occurring and where it is not. It will recommend where we can make long-term reforms, as well as where we can make more immediate improvements.
The Government announced improvements to the system before it went live last month – including implementing a “clean slate” policy so people who accrued penalties or demerits under the old system started fresh.
We also increased the points value attached to a number of activities that help people get job ready and move into secure jobs, such as full-time study or training.
The Government has also extended a suspension on Workforce Australia payment penalties associated with the new points system to ensure a smoother transition for participants.
The Select Committee will report back to Parliament in September 2023.