Tony Burke banishes parliamentary inquiry to consider revising Workforce Australia’s work program

Tony Burke banishes parliamentary inquiry to consider revising Workforce Australia’s work program

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The Albanian government has signaled it may review the $ 1.5 billion-a-year Workforce Australia program after announcing a parliamentary commission to investigate its design.

Employment Minister Tony Burke said on Tuesday that the government will set up a house select committee to review the employment services program, which was created by the former coalition government and replaced Jobactive this month.

Extensive reporting from Guardian Australia about early problems with the scheme follows, including unreasonable or confusing mutual obligations imposed on job seekers by outsourced providers.

While the government supports the mutual obligation, Burke said that “some aspects of the new program that we believe require new parliamentary scrutiny and oversight.”

“The former liberal and national government stuck in Workforce Australia by signing over $ 7 billion worth of contracts with suppliers just before the last election,” he said.

“Although they spent nearly two years designing and building the software for the new system, they didn’t explain it adequately to the Australian people.

Related: Wage growth is expected to skyrocket in the wake of Australia’s low unemployment. Is the system broken? | Greg Jericho

“We are concerned that we are done with a system driven more by the details of supplier contracts than by the legislation that the previous government brought into parliament.

“Anecdotally, the user experience of the system appears to vary greatly from person to person and from provider to provider.”

The contracts show that the government will pay more than $ 3.2 billion to outsourced suppliers over the next three years with the new system, while some will raise millions more through separate but related training contracts.

Labor, which supported the legislation while in opposition, is concerned that the practical effect of contracts – including the financial incentives needed in a privatized system – could lead to poor results for job seekers.

Last week, the Guardian reported that the industry successfully lobbied to stop a proposed rule banning employment agencies from referring job seekers to their employment skills courses in order to apply for more funds from the taxpayer.

On Monday, Guardian Australia revealed how this practice, which is used in the vast $ 3 billion welfare-to-work system, allows employment agencies to increase profits by referring job seekers to irrelevant and sometimes irrelevant training. absurd, including body language courses.

The employment services system has undergone several investigations in recent years, including a Senate investigation of the previous Jobactive program and a separate report commissioned by the Coalition government that was used to design Workforce Australia.

Burke said the survey will look at the first 12 months of the program and “recommend where we can make long-term reforms, as well as where we can make more immediate improvements.”

It will focus on the fact that the program “respects the diverse needs of individuals and supports job seekers to find secure employment, in particular its support for the long-term unemployed and young people”.

The government does not rule out making some changes to the scheme while the investigation is ongoing and before the commission submits a report.

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