Chapter 10 - Service provision and program design: Digital or hybrid services

  1. Service provision and program design: Digital or hybrid services

This chapter examines the design and delivery of digital-based employment services, including measures to ensure jobseekers are equipped to engage with digital services and key features of services offered via digital or hybrid (digital plus other supports) approaches.

The digitalisation and automation of government services (including employment services) can have positive impacts. However, when there is a lack of human intervention in the administration of such systems, they can cause harm to vulnerable people—as evident by the findings of the Robodebt Royal Commission. The Committee therefore considers it critical that a robust Digital Protections Framework be implemented to protect the rights of often vulnerable people, with measures related to the use of personal information and data within the employment services IT system.

Equitable access to online tools and digital services is also critical to a successful employment services system, while being able to get online and use technology confidently has a range of broader benefits. Reports that many Australians have difficulty accessing online information and support due to lower digital literacy and language barriers are concerning. Greater effort and support are needed to help people to improve digital literacy. There should also be a special focus on ensuring First Nations peoples and people from CALD backgrounds can access and engage with digital services in appropriate languages. The design of digital employment services also needs to recognise that not everyone will have access to, or be able to afford, the internet and associated technology. The Committee would encourage the Australian Government to explore options to ensure jobseekers have access to data and smart phones (as outlined in Chapter 11).

Digital employment services provided by the public sector, including—potentially—the adoption of a hybrid service model that enhances and augments digital forms of assistance through pro-active outreach and access to other support services, should continue to play a part in the employment services system (as outlined in Chapter 5). Adigital or hybrid service will remain appropriate for jobseekers who are closest to the labour market. Digital-based services are consistent with the approach recommended by the IWant to Work report and with the approach to public employment services in other comparable countries while noting that other jurisdictions are implemented enhanced supports for this cohort delivered by the public sector.

With respect to the current default period for participation in online services, measures should be taken to ensure that people who are not faring well are not abandoned and left to languish for up to 12 months. However, the Committee is not persuaded that referral to provider-led services in a shorter time is yet justified by the evidence currently available, including findings from the New Employment Services Trial (NEST).

A firmer evidence base should be established through Service Improvement Trials using a Randomised Control Trial (RCT) methodology to establish the optimal default time for various cohorts of people. This might include trialling six-, nine-, 12-, and 15-month periods, with and without other interventions. Subject to the outcomes of properly constituted RCTs, it could be expected that the default period for digital or hybrid services may vary depending on a person’s characteristics and geographic location.

It will take to develop this evidence-base, and the Committee proposes various actions to ensure that people assessed as close to the labour market are receiving appropriate support. Service augmentations should include:

  • Reforms to the assessment and referral process to improve the level of confidence that the right people are being referred to digital services (as outlined in Chapter 9).
  • The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) and Employment Services Australia (ESA) actively manage this caseload and be properly resourced to transform itself into a large hybrid service provider with capacity for proactive outreach, some face-to-face services, and referrals to additional support services where appropriate.
  • Improvements to the online information and tools currently available. Integration of ESA’s regional and local service system mapping, more sophisticated tools for career advice and jobmatching, and the use of data analytics and insights from machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to equip jobseekers with information that will help them with their job search will all improve the digital service over time.
  • The Digital Services Contact Centre (DSCC) be provided with the ability to require re-assessment of a person and referral to face-to-face provider services where appropriate within the current 12month default period (as outlined in Chapter 9).

Online information and tools also have a place in supporting employers. However, there appears to be little value in the online jobs board within Australia’s employment services system. Commercial digital jobs marketplaces are more mature and competitive and advertise a far greater array of opportunities. The existing jobs board in Workforce Australia largely replicates what is available via commercial platforms in a less sophisticated manner.

Options have been identified that the Australian Government should seriously consider, such as replacing the current jobs board with a framework that integrates commercial platforms into the Commonwealth Employment Services System. This framework should include enabling automatic reporting of activities and supporting data sharing to inform policy insights and system improvements. Such a change would need to be on the basis of competitive neutrality and fair access. It must also be underpinned by robust privacy, cybersecurity, and service standards, as well as safeguards relating to the use of technologies (including prevention of algorithmic discrimination by AI).

Capacity to use online tools and digital protections

10.1Engagement with both Workforce Australia Online and Workforce Australia Services requires a jobseeker to have access to and be able to use the internet and app-based services. For example, jobseekers are required to self-report completion of mutual obligations via the Workforce Australia app or website (which requires a myGov profile). However, as a safeguard for those who are unable to self-report, providers can also record how a participant has met their requirements.[1]

10.2The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) noted that in the period from 1 July 2022 to 30 June 2023, approximately 10 per cent of participants were rated as having low digital skills or difficulty accessing the internet and were encouraged to choose provider-led services. Around 54 per cent of those participants elected to be referred to Workforce Australia Online. Of those referred to Workforce Australia Online, around 25 per cent participants transferred to provider-led services within three months.[2]

10.3Several stakeholders raised concern that the increasing digitalisation of employment services (and human services generally) creates challenges for people with low digital literacy and limited access to technology. These issues are discussed in more detail below.

10.4A compounding for some people challenge is that activities in Workforce Australia must be recorded in English. The Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation (NAC) raised concern at a lack of information and tools available in First Nations languages,[3] while the Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ) recommended that online resources and reporting tools be available in multiple languages.[4] The Disability Royal Commission also noted the need to provide information in formats and languages that recognise the diversity of people with disability.[5]

10.5The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and Economic Justice Australia (EJA) recommended the development of a Digital Protections Framework, noting the increasing digitalisation and automation of services and the impacts that automated decision-making can have on vulnerable people.[6] ACOSS recommend that such a framework ensure people have access to robust complaint and review processes, and that measures be implemented to protect individuals against the automated suspension of payments and intrusive surveillance.[7]

10.6EJA stated that there is a need to clarify how personal data is used throughout the Workforce Australia system, particularly through the Job Seeker Snapshot (JSS), and a need to ensure that the information collected is subject to effective safeguards.[8]

10.7The Robodebt Royal Commission found that a lack of human intervention in the administration of government systems was a key contributor to the harm created by the scheme and raised concern that the use of increasingly complex artificial intelligence (AI)—if not correctly managed—could lead to disastrous impacts on users of government services. The Robodebt Royal Commission recommended that the Commonwealth consider:

  • introducing a consistent legal framework in which automation in government services can operate, including clear pathways for those affected by decisions to seek review, accessible information on websites advising that automated decision-making is used and explaining how the process works, and public access to business rules and algorithms to enable independent expert scrutiny; and
  • establishing a body, or expanding an existing body, with the power to monitor and audit automate decision-making processes with regard to their technical aspects and their impact in respect of fairness, the avoiding of bias, and client usability.[9]

Digital literacy

10.8Stakeholders indicated that while it is assumed that employment services participants are digitally literate, this is untrue for many jobseekers—and particularly those from vulnerable cohorts who already experience significant barriers to social and economic participation.[10]

10.9The Centre for Policy Futures at the University of Queensland (CPFUQ) noted that digital literacy is treated separately from employability during assessments, and that as a result there are jobseekers with low digital literacy who are assessed as ‘jobready’ and obliged to self-manage online.[11] SSI similarly recommended that digital literacy screening in initial assessments be enhanced.[12]

10.10The importance of the distinction between digital literacy and job readiness was reaffirmed by stakeholders during the Committee’s European delegation visit. For example, the French Public Employment Service highlighted that autonomy in using a digital platform is different from autonomy in job search. Accordingly, some people who are digitally literate still need help from a case manager to help identify training, labour market needs, and job opportunities.

10.11DEWR acknowledged that an ongoing challenge is ensuring online services are personalised and targeted at those who have the digital skills and literacy that allow them to self-manage their employment goals. DEWR informed the Committee that it will continue to monitor the effectiveness of jobseeker assessments as they relate to digital literacy, noting that digital literacy questions complement the assessment process but do not determine eligibility.[13]

10.12Own Words noted that those who struggle with reading and writing are often not empowered to take ownership of their written CV and instead use a template or rely on their provider to create a CV. Moreover, the option to create a video CV via Workforce Australia Online is not well understood and does not enable jobseekers to create a concise CV or résumé that will be of value in applying for work.[14]

10.13The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) noted that First Nations peoples often have lower levels of digital literacy, compounded by socio-economic, language, health, and geographic challenges. The NIAA asserted that understanding the digital inclusion needs of First Nations jobseekers will support the design of platforms that are more effective and deliver better outcomes for communities.[15]

10.14Digital literacy is a particular concern for people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds, including migrants and refugees. Stakeholders recommended additional digital literacy training for these cohorts, as well as provision of non-digital options for engaging with services and asserted that new and updated applications and programs must be rigorously tested with jobseekers before being implemented to ensure accessibility.[16]

10.15DEWR funds several programs that include digital literacy training, including Foundation Skills for Your Future (FSFYF), Skills for Education and Employment (SEE), Employability Skills Training (EST), and Career Transition Assistance (CTA).[17]

10.16The Committee also heard that there would be merit in providing all jobseekers with additional training, information, and support in relation to the use of digital platforms.[18] For example, Training Alliance Group (TAG) called for training on the use of MyGov, mobile apps, email, Points Based Activation System (PBAS) reporting and Centrelink voice activation. According to TAG, while programs such as CTA include training of this kind, many jobseekers who could benefit from additional support are ineligible.[19]

Access to the internet and to technology

10.17In addition to concerns regarding digital literacy, access to technology was identified as a key barrier to participation. The CPFUQ noted that digital inclusion is heavily mediated by affordability of digital devices and services, stating that this makes the Workforce Australia ‘self-service’ platform inherently less accessible to those who cannot afford to be digitally connected.[20]

10.18Anglicare WA observed that the success of Workforce Australia depends heavily on participants having access to digital technology and expressed concern that around 900,000 Australian households lack reliable internet access. In addition, 57 per cent of Australians on lower incomes report difficulty paying for broadband services. Accordingly, Anglicare WA recommended that government:

  • work with industry to provide subsidies for digital devices;
  • facilitate access to low-cost broadband for low-income households; and
  • review education and training funding models to allow for equitable access to subsidies for students at lower education levels.[21]
    1. This was echoed by evidence from an employment services participant, who told the Committee that access to computers would help jobseekers to find work.[22]
    2. Mr Matthew Ford observed that regional and remote Australians are at greater risk of being unable to use the internet to search the internet for job vacancies, noting that these jobseekers are often obliged to use computers at sites managed by service providers. Jobseekers in remote areas may need to travel significant distances to access these sites.[23] Regional Development Australia (RDA) Kimberly similarly stated that the focus in Workforce Australia on digital services does not reflect the needs of those living in Broome, noting that many in that area lack reliable internet access and digital literacy.[24]
    3. Another stakeholder asserted that even jobseekers with reasonable levels of digital literacy may not have the means to engage effectively in elements of the job search process, such as attending interviews by weblink. The stakeholder also observed that jobseekers often lack reliable internet access due to housing insecurity, high connection and data costs, and geographic isolation.[25]

Online employment assistance for jobseekers

10.22Workforce Australia Online was designed to support those who are more jobready, including those who enter and leave employment services relatively quickly. These jobseekers self-manage job search and other activities with some support from the Digital Services Contact Centre (DSCC).[26]

10.23The ‘default’ period of time for which a participant will remain in online services is currently 12 months. This may be extended to 18 months if the jobseeker is engaged in education or training. Once a participant has reached their maximum time in online services, they are automatically referred to a provider. Participants will receive a notification via email or SMS four weeks, and then again one week, prior to being transferred. The notifications advise the participant of their upcoming move and suggest they select a provider. If the participant does not select their own provider, a provider is selected automatically by the IT system.[27]

10.24Participants in online services cannot be compelled to move to provider-led services unless they are no longer eligible for Workforce Australia Online.[28]

10.25DEWR confirmed that a person may be in online services—and, at least nominally, be classified as ‘jobready’—even where they may have been on income support for an extended period, stating:

The policy around maximum time in online services is how long you have been on our digital platform for. So there will be people who come into our service, and they've already been on income support for some period of time. They've been in another program or they haven't been attached to programs.[29]

10.26DEWR noted that policy settings for online services were informed by evaluations of Online Employment Services Trial (OEST), Online Employment Services (OES) and New Employment Services Trial (NEST) which found that employment outcomes (based on exit data) for online and provider-led services were roughly equivalent. Further, around half of OES participants surveyed reported that 12months was an appropriate time to remain in online services. OEST participants expressed mixed views as to whether six months is an appropriate length of time for digital servicing.[30]

10.27In addition to moving to provider-led services after 12 months (or 18 months) on the digital caseload, participants may leave online services in a variety of ways. These include transferring to another program—for example, Disability Employment Services (DES) or the Community Development Program (CDP), electing to transfer from online to provider-led services, and leaving employment services altogether.[31]

10.28In the period from implementation of Workforce Australia to 30 June 2023, there were 139,576 exits from online services. Of these:

  • 70.9 per cent were exits from employment services altogether;
  • 27.5 per cent were transfers from online to provider-led services—the majority were to Workforce Australia Services; and
  • 1.6 per cent were transfers to other programs such as DES and CDP.[32]
    1. The majority of transfers to provider services occurred in the first 91 days in online services, with another upswing in transfers at 12 months (the ‘default’ period for online services).[33]
    2. Of the participants who exited services, two thirds exited for employment-related reasons, while the remainder exited for administrative reasons (for example, their application for income support was rejected). Of those who exited for employment-related reasons, 66.9 per cent did so within six months in online services.[34]
    3. DEWR is developing an assurance plan for online services, with the aim of enhancing user experience via enhanced quality, efficiency. The plan will include minimum quality standards for online services and define how assurance activities will be planned, conducted, and reported. The plan is expected to be developed by the end of 2023 and will be implemented on an iterative basis.[35]
    4. DEWR is also developing additional performance measures for online services and expects to commence reporting on these during the second half of 2023.[36]
    5. In addition, an early survey of over 6,000 participants in online services showed that nearly two-thirds were satisfied with the service. According to DEWR, this reflects the greater flexibility and autonomy that online services provide.[37]

Support for jobseekers on the digital caseload

10.34Several stakeholders raised concern that the current ‘digital first’ approach in Workforce Australia misses opportunities for early intervention and leads to jobseekers disengaging from the labour market. Additional support may then be needed to address the jobseeker’s lack of direction and confidence when they transition to provider-led services.[38]

10.35Dr David O’Halloran stated that the current ‘digital first’ approach to service delivery under Workforce Australia:

  • ignores research suggesting that effective and appropriate employment services are important for all unemployed people—irrespective of their connection to the labour market—and that those who are highly employable are more likely to find sustainable work if matched with a caseworker who can expertly assist them; and
  • takes an overly optimistic view about the ease of job searching that ignores the pervasive negative views toward the unemployed by recruiters as well as the biases inherent in the design of applicant tracking algorithms.[39]
    1. Asuria People Services (Asuria) asserted that Workforce Australia takes a passive approach to online service delivery, with many users comparing their experience to online jobs boards. Asuria stated that this leads to jobseeker disengagement from employment services, and accordingly to longer period of welfare support and to heightened risks of negative effects known as ‘scarring’, which lower participants’ overall job readiness.[40]
    2. CareerOne noted that a limitation of the current online service is that it does not assist individuals to be understand the opportunities for which they may be suited immediately or in the future, and instead provides only limited recommendations based on the individual’s submitted Candidate Profile.[41] CareerOne also noted there are technology-based opportunities to provide jobseekers with suggestions on how to make improvements to their job search.[42]
    3. DEWR noted that their role is one of caseload management, with a different service model compared to provider-led services.[43] That said, DEWR acknowledged that there were ways that the service for jobseekers in online services could be improved, such as broadening the remit of the DSCC to include an early appointment or welcome that the gives the participant information about the supports available.[44]
    4. International experience indicates an accelerating trend towards digitalisation of services for those who are closer to the labour market, with some jurisdictions experimenting with digital provision supplemented by more active caseload management and some capacity for video or face-to face servicing.[45] During its European delegation, the Committee heard that the Netherlands conducted randomised control trials (RCTs) of online-only services, online services with additional enforcement measures, and a hybrid model which combined online services with additional in-person counselling or job coaching. A finding of the RCTs was that participants in the hybrid model, which involved three face-to-face meetings over an 18-month period, were 2 per cent more likely to find employment relative to participants in the other groups. The RCTs also found that increased enforcement didnot lead to better employment outcomes (that is, increased ‘outflow’ into employment).
    5. The Netherlands’ public employment service now offers a blended online and face-to-face service, with initial meetings with jobseekers conducted face-to-face in order to build trust. Sarina Russo Job Access (SRJA) summarised the Dutch experience as follows:

In response to severe budget cuts, the Dutch PES developed digital channels to interact with jobseekers with the aim of serving every jobseeker only via digital channels in the first three months of their unemployment (with the exception of those with disabilities and those aged over 50). However there has been concern that, for some customers, e-services are not as effective as face-to-face services. The PES is now focusing on providing a blended service … aiming to provide the right service for the right customer at the right time via the right channel.[46]

10.41SRJA indicated that while a ‘digital first’ approach may be appropriate for at least some jobseekers, no employment services should be ‘digital only’. SRJA stated that not commencing investment in participants immediately on leaving employment fails to capitalise on the period when the participant is the most motivated in their job search.[47]

10.42The National Employment Services Association (NESA) noted that while there have been experiments with digital-only services in some countries, most established public employment services use omnichannel or blended offerings which incorporate digital and in-person support:

International experience also indicates that augmented services bringing together human and ICT strengths deliver the best result for participants and employers. These digital services models include rigorous holistic assessment and streaming processes focused on identifying competencies, actual support needs and fit to service interventions.[48]

10.43According to NESA, exemplary international models which a reformed employment services system in Australia may wish to drawn upon include the public employment services in Belgium, Germany and the Netherlands.[49]

10.44A primary safeguard for jobseekers in Workforce Australia Online are Digital Services Reviews. These are voluntary assessments that occur after a participant has been in online services for four and eight months and are designed to review a jobseeker’s capacity to use the online service and allow them to move to provider-led assistance. Depending on a jobseeker’s responses to the questionnaire, they may be provided with information on online services that can help them find a job or may be encourages to opt out of Workforce Australia Online and transfer to a provider.[50]

10.45DEWR stated that in the NEST, most of the participants who completed a Digital Service Review were found to be suitable for online servicing.[51] However, evidence from the NEST evaluation found that only half of the participants in online services completed the review at the four-month point.[52]

10.46Other safeguards for participants in Workforce Australia Online include four-month activation requirements, the ability for participants to opt out of digital services; the automatic transfer of jobseekers to provider-led services at 12months (if the jobseeker is not working, studying, or training), and access to the DSCC.[53]

10.47DEWR also stated that participants have access to support via websites and via messages and notifications. These include information and advice on matters such as onboarding, compliance with mutual obligations, and employment-related events in a participant’s local area. Notifications are regularly reviewed to ensure content is clear and helpful, with input from stakeholders such as ACOSS.[54]

10.48A virtual digital assistant is also available on the Workforce Australia website, with responses from the assistant developed using content from the website and program and policy information.[55]

The role of the Digital Services Contact Centre

10.49The DSCC is DEWR’s dedicated contact centre for Workforce Australia Online participants. Support provided through the DSCC covers:

  • information and technical support in using the online system, such as assisting jobseekers to opt out of online services and to select a provider;[56]
  • assistance for online participants with mutual obligation requirements;
  • assistance to connect to complementary programs, activities and other support;
  • processing Employment Fund (EF) requests for online participants; and
  • engagement with participants to confirm continued suitability of online services.[57]
    1. Since 1 July 2022, DEWR’s contact centres (primarily DSCC) have received 345,168 inbound contacts from individuals via telephone and email. The majority have been via telephone (86.5 per cent). The majority of contacts (85.8 per cent) were requests for information. Other reasons for contact included activity reporting (5.1percent), referrals (4.3 per cent), and requests to transfer or optout of services (2.9 per cent).[58]
    2. The DSCC formally introduced performance metrics to measure its service to users in February 2023. These are outlined in Table 10.1 below, along with the DSCC’s performance against the measures for the 2022–23 financial year. As reflected in the table, targets were not met for three of the measures. In particular, the call handling rate of 81 per cent was well below the 95 per cent target, and the call wait time of 2minutes and 54 seconds fell well short of the 60 second target.

Table 10.1DSCC performance metrics



2022-23 Result

Speed to resolve matter*

100% under 20 days

Met 99% of the time

Average speed to answer

Under 60 seconds

2 minutes, 54 seconds

Call handling rate

Over 95%





Customer satisfaction

Over 75%


Source: DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 40.* Speed to resolve data provided for 2022-23 is incomplete. DEWR was unable to report on performance of records received on or after 16 June 2023. ** Occupancy measures the time staff are on call-related activity compared to logged-in time. At other times staff are increasing their knowledge and undertaking administrative tasks.

10.52Performance metrics are currently under review, taking into account 12 months of data and improvements to data recording.[59]

10.53The DSCC has also increased its outgoing calls as a form of welfare check for online participants, including to assist participants to transfer to provider-led services if necessary.[60] For example, the DSCC trialled outbound calls to individuals flagged as not completing a Job Plan. Calls included targeted advice as well as assessment of whether the person may be better served by a provider.[61]

10.54The Committee visited and observed the DSCC in operation. Observations indicated that staff are very competent in their knowledge of the service and capacity to assist participants and genuinely engaged and caring.

10.55However, the Committee also heard that staff at the DSCC do not consider themselves a service provider but rather a support service. By contrast, other stakeholders see the DSCC (or DEWR generally) as the largest provider of employment services, noting that DEWR is now responsible for service delivery for the online caseload.

Time spent in online services

10.56As outlined above, the ‘default’ period for online services is 12 months. This may be extended to 18 months if the participant is in work or study.

10.57Several stakeholders argued that the default period should be reduced—particularly if jobseekers do not also receive face-to-face support. The Committee heard that leaving jobseekers without support for up to 12months can result in the jobseeker being long-term unemployed (LTU) when they ultimately transfer to provider-led services. This creates challenges for the provider in terms of behaviour management, support needs, and degree of disengagement from the service system.[62]

10.58SYC Ltd (SYC) noted that even in the NEST—where jobseekers would remain in online services for six months, jobseekers who transitioned to provider-led services showed less capacity to apply for vacancies online or create a CV.[63]

10.59There was not consensus on the most appropriate period for which a jobseeker should remain in online services. However, most stakeholders who considered the matter supported reducing the default time in online services to three or six months, particularly if a hybrid or ‘digital plus’ service model is not adopted.[64]

10.60MatchWorks asserted that the transition from online to provider services should occur at three months. MatchWorks argued that early intervention minimises the scarring effects of unemployment and can identify barriers that may not have been disclosed during initial jobseeker assessment. MatchWorks also stated that where a jobseeker remains in online system until they are LTU, there is an avoidable cost to other government-funded social care services.[65]

10.61MAX Solutions (MAX) noted that when a jobseeker transitions from digital to provider-led services, they have three months before being required to complete either a training program or Work for the Dole (WfD). MAX observed that this is a ‘tragic misread’ of the importance of placing the most job-ready people in work quickly and stated that while there is a role for digital services, the period of online servicing should not exceed six months.[66]

10.62Stakeholders also called for participation in online services to be reviewed at critical milestones—particularly if a ‘digital only’ model is to be retained—to ensure that online engagement remains appropriate.[67] NESA recommended that jobseekers are contacted by phone within the first month of joining online services to make this assessment. NESA also stated that a similar assessment should be made each time the jobseeker accrues a demerit under the Targeted Compliance Framework (TCF).[68]

Moving from online to provider-led services

10.63Jobseekers in Workforce Australia Online may opt out of online services at any time by initiating a transfer to a provider via their online account or by contacting either the DSCC or the National Customer Service Line (NCSL). Information and advice on transferring from online to provider-led services is available on the Workforce Australia website.[69]

10.64In the first year of Workforce Australia Online, approximately 11 per cent of the participants who moved through online services chose to transfer to provider-led services. Around 75 per cent of those transfers were supported by the DSCC, while the remainder relied on online tools. The most common reason for transfer was a preference for face-to-face servicing (43 per cent), followed by digital literacy or technology-related issues (24 per cent).[70]

10.65EJA noted that not all jobseekers will self-advocate if they are having trouble with Workforce Australia Online.[71]

10.66The option to transfer from online to provider-led services is not fully understood and may not be user-friendly—particularly for vulnerable jobseekers. The Settlement Council of Australia (SCoA) stated that opting out of online services is particularly challenging for people from CALD communities, emphasising that the process must be made easier so participants can access culturally appropriate services that meet their needs.[72]

10.67APM noted that the findings of the OEST indicated that just 30per cent of jobseekers were aware of the choice to opt out of online services, with most jobseekers having little knowledge about face-to-face services available.[73] Through engagement with jobseekers, the Committee heard instances of Workforce Australia Online participants struggling and wanting to move to provider-led services but being unaware of the option to do so.[74]

10.68Dr Michael McGann emphasised the importance of promoting awareness of the choice to opt out of online services. Dr McGann also indicated that more should be done to track a participant’s progress—including responding to signs a jobseeker is experiencing difficulties and by undertaking proactive outreach.[75]

10.69DEWR highlighted that information on transferring to a provider is available via the Workforce Australia website and by contacting the DSCC. According to DEWR, DSCC staff are trained to pick up on cues that online services may not be suitable for a participant.[76] Support is also available via the virtual digital assistant:

A range of terms can be used to obtain information about transferring to a provider. This includes, but not limited to, phrases such as ‘switch to provider services’, ‘can I leave online and go to a provider’, ‘I want to opt out of online services’, [and] ‘can I have a meeting with someone to help me with my résumé and suitable work’.[77]

10.70Jobseekers in provider-led services may also request transfer to Workforce Australia Online. Acceptance of this requires the support of the jobseeker’s provider and the jobseeker meeting eligibility criteria. A jobseeker may not be referred from provider-led to online services if they have a high level of disadvantage, have not been able to satisfactorily manage their mutual obligations while in provider servicing, or have a recent Employment Services Assessment (ESAt) recommending provider servicing.[78]

10.71There can be challenges moving from provider-led to online services—including for participants who are well-placed to manage their job searches without additional support. One submitter stated that despite having advanced qualifications and substantial work experience, she was refused the opportunity to transfer back into online services—without a satisfactory explanation.[79]

10.72The Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union (AUWU) highlighted that calls made to their helpline indicated that many people seeking information on transferring to online services wanted that information as they did not wish to stay with their provider.[80]

Online engagement with employers

10.73Workforce Australia Online for Business is intended to support business with their recruitment and workforce planning needs. Employers can advertise vacancies; find, review, and shortlist candidates; and access information and resources. Jobs advertised on three external jobs boards (Adzuna, CareerOne and Jora) also feed into the Workforce Australia jobs board. To access all features of Workforce Australia Online for Business, a business must register and be authenticated.[81]

10.74Between 1 July and 31 December 2022 there were more than 6,600,000 jobs advertised on Workforce Australia. These were almost entirely sourced from external marketplaces (97.7percent). No other source (for example, registration by an employer or a service provider), accounted for more than one per cent of advertisements.[82]

10.75When advertising on the Workforce Australia job board, an employer can choose the method by which candidates should apply. For example, applications could be submitted via Workforce Australia, via the employer’s website, or using an external jobs board. A business may also contact a prospective candidate directly.[83]

10.76Job searches and applications using external platforms such as SEEK are not automatically logged or counted in DEWR’s IT system. A jobseeker will need to send an email to a specific email address with their jobseeker ID to have the job search credited for the purposes of their mutual obligation requirements.[84]

10.77DEWR noted that the various methods by which a person may apply for a job make it ‘extremely difficult’ for IT systems to capture data on the outcome of recruitment processes. The Workforce Australia evaluation will look to answer how well the online service is assisting businesses to connect with suitable candidates. Further, while improvements to job matching have been implemented, businesses continue to express frustration about receiving applications from individuals purely to meet mutual obligation requirements.[85]

10.78Stakeholders argued that Workforce Australia Online for Business is not meeting employers’ needs, noting difficulty registering vacancies,[86] lack of access to jobseekers on the digital caseload,[87] and the limited reach of the jobs board compared with commercial platforms such as SEEK.[88]

10.79SEEK commissioned Lewers Research to conduct research into the job searching behaviours of jobseekers and recruitment methods of employers. This involved both surveys and qualitative interviews with jobseekers and employers. Among employers who provided responses to the surveys and participated in interviews, 97 per cent used SEEK to recruit their staff, and 86 per cent used SEEK as a primary recruitment channel. Only 18 per cent used Workforce Australia and just three per cent used Workforce Australia as their primary recruitment channel. Use of Workforce Australia was also lower than other platforms such as Facebook, Linkedin, and Indeed.[89]

10.80The research commissioned by SEEK also found that Workforce Australia participants are significantly more likely to use SEEK than Workforce Australia despite being required to log into the Workforce Australia platform to record mutual obligations. Just 52 per cent of jobseekers reported that it was likely or very likely that they would find a job through Workforce Australia, compared with 77per cent for SEEK. However, the research found that Workforce Australia is used more by jobseekers than other commercial platforms such as Indeed and LinkedIn.[90] While apparently data-driven, the research commissioned by SEEK ultimately argued for the superiority of SEEK over other commercial job markets.

10.81A further complication is that not all employers use internet job boards. Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) noted that internet job boards give preference to metropolitan regions and higher skilled occupations. Data indicates that regional employers are more likely to use word-of-mouth or other social media channels for recruitment.[91]

10.82A range of stakeholders argued that Workforce Australia should not attempt to compete with commercial platforms but should instead offer a unique service to employers including brokering job opportunities, assisting recruitment processes, and providing ongoing support to enable sustainable employment outcomes.[92] Associate Professor Jo Ingold (Dr Ingold) stated:

You have to have a clear rationale and a clear value proposition that is enacted so that employers know they are going to get something different … When employers realise what employment services can do for them, and it is executed well—from pre-employment preparation through to post-employment support for both the candidate and the employer—it is great; it is compelling. But at the moment we have a system that is washing around the surface and not having the impact we would like it to have, which is why we are seeing all that churn.[93]

10.83Jobs Victoria noted that they do not aim to compete with commercial platforms, but rather to complement those services by matching jobseekers to more inclusive job opportunities, and opportunities on government projects.[94]

10.84Similarly, the Australian Local Government Association (ALGA) noted that there was an industry-specific job board—Careers at Council—for jobs in local government. They expressed frustration that when they sought to feed vacancies from their jobs board into the Workforce Australia system, the system was unable to take the feed.[95]

10.85SEEK proposed a future state for employment services system that would clearly delineate the roles of employment services and commercial platforms. Under the proposed model, employment services would focus on case management support, while specialist jobs marketplaces would focus on career advice and resources and on listing vacancies and job matching. SEEK detailed their proposal as follows:

  • Workforce Australia retires its jobs marketplace and maintains a narrowly focused digital platform to help jobseekers develop an agreed Job Plan, track progress towards goals and demonstrate compliance with mutual obligations.
  • Specialist jobs marketplaces offer platforms for jobseekers to find work and employers to find staff and offer career tools and guidance on their use.
  • Data and workflow integrations between Workforce Australia and these platforms are developed to agreed standards, subject to jobseeker consent.
  • Resources that would have been invested in maintaining the Workforce Australia jobs marketplace and career advice are re-directed to provision of more intensive assistance to jobseekers with the greatest needs.[96]
    1. SEEK stated that realising this proposal will require partnerships between DEWR and eligible jobs marketplaces which opt into the new system. A framework to address technical aspects of the proposed model should also be developed, including:
  • regular sharing of data relating to jobseeker activity on the jobs marketplace with Workforce Australia to provide program-level accountability and inform future policy directions;
  • building capability for jobseekers to automatically report job applications and other activities on the marketplaces to Workforce Australia to fulfil their mutual obligations requirements; and
  • promoting relevant content to jobseekers using in-flow and adjacent marketing channels.[97]
    1. The Committee also heard that the service offerings of commercial platforms could be improved. For example, Mr Dan Ehlers noted that platforms may exaggerate the number of jobs available in an area and give the impression that a job is available in an area when it is a considerable distance away. Mr Ehlers also observed that some jobs advertised via recruitment or labour hire companies are not genuine vacancies but are used by the agency to ‘add more people to their books’.[98]

Committee comment

10.88Engagement with employment services requires an increasingly high level of digital literacy. Many Australians—and particularly those facing intersectional disadvantage such as older people, First Nations peoples, and people from CALD backgrounds—do not necessarily possess the necessary digital capability to fully engage. This can entrench disadvantage for vulnerable people and widen the divide between those able and unable to use digital systems.

10.89The Committee acknowledges that the government offers several programs which include a digital literacy component. However, eligibility for these programs may exclude jobseekers who would benefit from enhanced digital skills. All employment services participants have access to training and supports to improve their digital literacy, which could include expanding access to existing services or implementing a new digital literacy program.

10.90Robust assessment processes are also critical to ensuring that people with lower levels of digital literacy are allocated to appropriate services and are not pushed further into disadvantage. Enhancements to assessment processes, including measures to ensure that only people with sufficient levels of digital literacy are allocated to online services, are discussed in further detail in Chapter 9.

10.91Access to technology and reliable internet access can also be major barriers to engagement with employment services and the broader human services ecosystem. While internet access for the Australian public is beyond the scope of this inquiry, the Committee would encourage government to explore options to ensure jobseekers have access to data to the internet and to devices such as mobile phones by providing financial support where necessary. This matter is discussed in further detail in Chapter 11, in the context of enhancements to EF.

10.92The Committee also acknowledges the difficulties reportedly experienced by many CALD and First Nations jobseekers because the Workforce Australia app only allows jobseekers to report completion of activities in English. This may create compliance challenges for jobseekers whose first language is not English, and potentially lead to the application of payment suspensions and financial penalties. It appears that the Workforce Australia website and factsheets on key programs are also only available in English (notwithstanding the availability of translating and interpreting services).

10.93By contrast, key information on the Services Australia website is available in 81languages, while the Centrelink Express Plus mobile app is available in English, Arabic, Vietnamese, Persian (Farsi) and Chinese (Simplified).

10.94Digital reporting tools and websites for employment services should be available in, at a minimum, the languages most commonly spoken by participants on the employment services caseload. This should include First Nations languages to the extent that this reflects the number of First Nations peoples accessing services. The languages in which employment services website should also reflect those languages in which the Centrelink Express Plus mobile app is available, noting the value of increasing accessibility and better aligning reporting requirements across government services.

10.95In addition, a strategy should be developed to ensure that websites and digital tools remain available in a range of languages, and to support the introduction of additional languages. This should include periodic updates to reflect changes to the makeup of the employment services caseload.

10.96Noting that digital and language barriers are likely to continue to pose challenges for some cohorts of jobseekers, the Committee considers that all major updates to user interfaces should also be tested with target cohorts including older people, people from CALD backgrounds, people with disability, and First Nations peoples, before being implemented.

10.97Increasing digitalisation and automation of employment services (and human services generally) can, unless appropriately managed, have a significant negative impact on vulnerable people. The Committee therefore considers it critical that a robust Digital Protections Framework be implemented. Consistent with the views put forward by stakeholders, such as framework should include, at a minimum:

  • clear provisions for the circumstances in which decisions which have negative financial impact may be automated—with a focus on ensuring that decisions with a financial impact on people are made by a person;
  • meaningful and accessible complaints and review processes;
  • measures to protect individuals from intrusive surveillance; and
  • measures to ensure that personal information and data is protected, with clear guidelines on how this data may be used and shared throughout the employment services system. Development of these measures should give consideration to the need to ensure that participant information can be shared to enable the system to function effectively, including to ensure that participants are not forced to repeat their experiences to multiple people and organisations and to avoid barriers to evidence-driven system and service improvements.
    1. Implementation of such a framework should be conducted consistently with and give close consideration to whole-of-government work to implement related measures arising from the Robodebt Royal Commission.

Recommendation 35

10.99The Committee recommends that the Australian Government ensure that all participants in employment services have access to training and supports to improve their digital literacy, noting that lack of digital literacy is frequently a barrier both to efficiently accessing services and to employment.

Recommendation 36

10.100The Committee recommends that the Australian Government:

  • ensure that the digital tools for employment services and the primary government websites for employment services are available in, at a minimum, the languages in which reporting is available via the Centrelink Express Plus app, as well as in those languages most commonly used by jobseekers on the employment services caseload;
  • develop and implement a strategy for increasing the number of languages in which online information and reporting tools are available, including in response to changes to the makeup of the employment services caseload;
  • ensure major updates to digital tools and user interfaces for employment services are fully tested with target cohorts before being implemented. This should include testing with older people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, First Nations peoples, and people with disability; and
  • develop a Digital Protections Framework to provide robust safeguards for clients and other stakeholders against the adverse impacts of increasing digitalisation and automation of services.
    1. As outlined in Chapter 5, the Committee considers that online services should remain a key component of the employment services system.
    2. However, the Committee is concerned that the establishment of online servicing in Workforce Australia for nominally ‘jobready’ participants has set up a hard binary between fully self-servicing and self-management in online services and ‘standard’ case management services delivered by providers. This is notwithstanding Australian and international research and observed experience demonstrating the value of a more graduated spectrum of support for jobseekers closer to the labour market. There is substantial evidence that other countries have recognised this risk and have implemented hybrid services providing additional support to engage with, motivate and support jobseekers with low barriers to employment to mitigate the risk of jobseekers becoming disheartened and disengaging from the labour market
    3. At present, jobseekers remain in Workforce Australia Online for a default period of 12months with little in the way of engagement from the DSCC. This means that although the majority of people secure work within the first 12 months, if a person does not do so then when they ultimately transition to provider-led services, they are considered LTU. After 12 months unemployed the evidence is that a person is considered far less employable (with some evidence indicating that the person is around 40 per cent less employable), and more likely to have mental health issues or behavioural challenges and require greater levels of support to return to the labour market.
    4. The Committee appreciates that many providers and some experts have raised concerns and argued strongly for a reduced ‘default’ period for online services. These accord with both genuine concern to ensure that people who are not faring well in online service are not abandoned and left to languish on that caseload, as well as some degree of commercial self-interest by providers in obtaining more and easier to place jobseekers sooner.
    5. The Committee has concluded that enhanced online services provided by the public sector should continue to play a part in the employment services system for those closest to the labour market. This is consistent with the approach recommended by the I Want to Work report, and that observed in public employment services in comparable international jurisdictions. The Committee considers that Australia should move to a more blended, hybrid service approach, involving self-management via digital tools and additional support—potentially including some face-to-face capacity.
    6. The Committee is not persuaded however on the evidence available at this point that referral to outsourced providers in a shorter time is yet justified or that there is any evidence as to what the optimal time should be. The fact remains that most jobseekers secure work within the 12-month period, and evidence from the New Employment Services Trial indicated that employment outcomes at 12 months were roughly equivalent for online and provider-led services.
    7. Ultimately, the Committee proposes that:
  • Reforms to the assessment and referral process be implemented to improve the level of confidence that the right people are being referred to predominantly online services (as outlined in the previous chapter).
  • DEWR more actively manage the online caseload and be properly resourced to transform itself into a large hybrid provider with capacity for proactive outreach, some face-to-face service and additional supports where needed. Employment Services Australia’s (ESA) regional and local service system mapping, more sophisticated online tools and use of data analytics will also improve the service offering over time.
  • A firmer evidence base be established through Service Improvement Trials using RCT methodology to establish the optimal default time for various cohorts of people. There would be merit, for example, in trialling 6-, 9-, 12-, and 15-months service periods, accompanied by consistent proactive interventions. Subject to the outcomes of properly constituted trials, the ‘default’ period for a person to remain in online or hybrid services may be determined. This ‘default’ period may also vary depending on the person’s characteristics, geographic location, and variations in the labour market.
  • The DSCC be provided with the ability to request re-assessment of a person, including referral to face-to-face provider services where appropriate, at any time while the person is in online or hybrid services. Periodic reassessment should also be enabled under the current Workforce Australia Online.
    1. The Committee stresses that the move to this new model will require that the DEWR think of itself as and be resourced by Government to transform itself into a hybrid provider, and not merely a reactive source of advice or ad hoc call centre support. This will be critical to the success of a rebuilt employment services system with a strong government core. An enhanced service model should be developed including, for example, regular, proactive outreach to jobseekers in digital services, including to evaluate progress toward employment; provide support, information, and referrals; and ensure the jobseekers understands how to transfer to provider services if they wish to do so. The Committee was pleased to note that the DSCC has begun to conduct more proactive outreach to jobseekers on the digital caseload and considers this should be continued and enhanced. The Committee strongly suggests that service changes routinely be the subject of randomised control trials to develop a proper evidence base to underpin interventions and reforms.
    2. The Committee also considers that despite some evidence claiming it is relatively easy to transfer from online to provider-led services, many participants do not understand this option and may not have the support to make an informed decision. Reforms to online services must ensure that clients are provided with clear, accessible information about the circumstances in which a transfer to provider-led services may be appropriate, and the process to effect the transfer. This information should be available through relevant government websites and digital applications and should be provided to the participant as part of outreach and welfare checks—particularly for those people who have been identified as experiencing difficulties in online services.

Recommendation 37

10.110The Committee recommends that the Australian Government should properly resource the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) to support its transformation into a hybrid provider with a spectrum of online services and more intensive supports, with a robust evidence base established via use of data analytics and randomised control trials including proactive outreach, for example:

  • general periodic welfare checks;
  • coaching discussion of the client’s progress in terms of building capacity and moving towards employment;
  • proactive provision of information about skills development and training opportunities and other support services in a client’s local community and region (supported by Employment Services Australia’s mapping of the human services eco-system in each region);
  • trialling an occasional video or face-to-face engagement, given the success this has had in overseas hybrid public providers; and
  • information about transferring to provider-led services to people identified through engagement or data analytics as not faring well in online services or identified as being at higher risk of long-term unemployment.

Recommendation 38

10.111The Committee recommends that with respect to the optimal default time(s) that a client remains in online services:

  • The Australian Government review and establish a firmer evidence based through Service Improvement Trials using randomised control trial methodology, with a view to determining an optimal default time for participation in an enhanced online or hybrid service. This may include trialling six-, 9-, 12- and 15-months (accompanied by consistent proactive interventions) and assessing the outcomes for various cohorts of people, expecting that the optimal time may vary depending on a person’s characteristics, geographic location, and variations in the labour market.
  • The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations be provided with the ability to require re-assessment of a person in online services, and to mandate referral to face-to-face provider services where there is clear evidence that a person is not faring well and is unlikely to succeed without more intensive support.
    1. The Committee has given serious consideration to the proposal that the online jobs board in Workforce Australia be abandoned, and that a framework to integrate online jobs marketplaces platforms into the employment services system be implemented.
    2. The Committee has concluded that, in principle, there appears to be little value in the Workforce Australia online jobs board within the employment services system. Commercial jobs marketplaces are mature and competitive and advertise a far greater array of opportunities. In addition, the existing jobs board in Workforce Australia largely replicates what is available via some of the commercial platforms, but in a less sophisticated and user-friendly manner. There is negligible exclusive use of the Workforce Australia jobs board by employers as commercial platforms are preferred by employers in meeting recruitment needs and by jobseekers in finding a job with appropriate pay and conditions.
    3. The Government should seriously consider the proposal from SEEK to fully replace the current Workforce Australia jobs board with a framework to integrate commercial platforms into the employment services system. Under this model, employment services would focus on delivering a unique value proposition to employers including capacity building, recruitment, and HR support. In addition, the model would:
  • enable jobseekers to automatically report job applications and other relevant activities through the existing commercial marketplace;
  • enable regular data sharing on jobseeker activity with the employment services system to provide program-level accountability and inform future policy direction;
  • ensure relevant content (for example, where to find help or training opportunities) is promoted to jobseekers using in-flow and adjacent marketing channels; and
  • reduce duplication of job listings, thereby improving efficiency for clients.
    1. The Committee has stopped short of reaching a final conclusion as it has been beyond our time and resources to fully analyse every aspect of the proposal and seek broader input regarding it. However, in principle the Committee is attracted to SEEK’s proposal and recommends that DEWR lead a stand-alone piece of policy work and provide considered options to Government for decision.
    2. The Committee also highlights a number of caveats and preconditions that would need to underpin any such change:
  • Neutrality. If the government partners with SEEK, it would be important that the option to partner with government is open to other commercial marketplaces. Government may not wish to partner with all other marketplaces and enabling organisations, noting the risk of partnerships with disreputable entities. Accordingly, there would need to be certain transparent minimum standards and approval arrangements and ensure there is full “interoperability” – i.e.,that clients are able to use all of the various firms government is partnering with.
  • Robust standards: Only commercial marketplaces and enabling organisations who meet minimum privacy, cybersecurity and service standards would be able to partner with government. These standards should be developed in collaboration with all major digital jobs marketplaces.
  • Artificial intelligence (AI). Safeguards and transparency will be needed relating to the use of AI technologies, including to prevent algorithmic discrimination against disadvantaged jobseekers.
  • Commercial advantage. This requires overt consideration and careful management. There is likely to be commercial advantage to those platforms that capture the most traffic from public employment services, leading to growth in traffic, market share, brand profile, client networks and repeat business, and enhancements to the platform’s AI algorithms more effective.
  • Quality control and access. Government may wish to implement quality controls, limit access by certain employers; introduce robust data protection measures; and implement dispute resolution procedures.
  • Access to data for oversight and ongoing evaluation. Arrangements would be needed to ensure government oversight (potentially by the proposed Employment Services Quality Commission) and access to data for evaluation purposes to ensure any partnerships continued to meet their objectives.
    1. If a proposal is adopted to integrate commercial job marketplaces into the employment services system, government should also work with those marketplaces to support an ongoing process of improvement to their job matching services, informed by user feedback.
    2. The Committee notes that it would also be possible to develop a framework for partnership without fully retiring the existing publicly provided jobs marketplace. Itcould be concluded that maintaining a basic public service is required to fulfil Australia’s International Labour Organization (ILO) obligations, and potentially as a Customer Relationship Management system if ESA takes on a stronger role in employer engagement.

Recommendation 39

10.119The Committee recommends that the Australian Government seriously consider the implementation of a policy framework to integrate commercial digital jobs marketplaces into the employment services system taking account of the conclusions of this report, including the following key elements:

  • Competitive neutrality and open access to all providers subject to meeting robust cybersecurity, privacy, and service standards.
  • Safeguards and transparency relating to the use of artificial intelligence, including to prevent algorithmic discrimination against disadvantaged jobseekers.
  • Jobseekers being able to automatically report activities through commercial marketplace partners to the employment services system.
  • Regular sharing of data on jobseeker activity with the employment services system, to enable program-level accountability and inform future policy direction.
  • Relevant content is promoted on behalf of businesses and industries using in-flow and adjacent marketing channels.
  • Clients have regular access to a wide range of job opportunities and recommendations based on their candidate profile and/or job preferences.
  • Eventual retirement of the online jobs board in Workforce Australia once commercial partnerships are established and working well.


[1]See Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR), Submission 254, p. 217.

[2]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 10.

[3]Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation (NAC), Submission 180, p. [3].

[4]Ethnic Communities Council of Queensland (ECCQ), Submission 206, p. 7.

[5]Disability Royal Commission (2023), Final Report: Volume 6: Enabling autonomy and access, pages 72–73.

[6]Ms Sarah Sacher, Law Reform Officer, Economic Justice Australia (EJA), Committee Hansard, 17 May 2023, p. 6; Dr Cassandra Goldie, CEO, Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), Committee Hansard, 17May 2023, p. 7.

[7]ACOSS, Submission 203, pages 12, 40.

[8]EJA, Submission 153.1, pages 6, 7.

[9]Robodebt Royal Commission (2023), Report of the Royal Commission into the Robodebt Scheme, p. 488.

[10]See, for example, Ms Juliet Vrakas, Submission 91, pages [4, 8]; Centre for Excellence in Child and Family Welfare (CECFW), Submission 200, p. 8.

[11]Centre for Policy Futures—University of Queensland (CPF–UQ), Submission 217, p. 4.

[12]SSI, Submission 193, pages 3, 11.

[13]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 49. Jobseeker assessments–including screening for digital literacy—are also discussed in Chapter 9.

[14]Own Words, Submission 312, pages 1, 2, 3.

[15]National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA), Submission 176, p. 6.

[16]See, for example, ECCQ, Submission 206, pages 7–8; Settlement Council of Australia (SCoA), Submission 211, p. 15; Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), Submission 226, p. 8; Workways Australia Ltd (Workways), Submission 239, p. 12.

[17]DEWR, Submission 254, pages, 150, 152, 159, 173.

[18]See, for example, Ms Karen Zaskolny, Submission 135, p. [2]; WDEA Works, Submission 168, p. 5; TheSalvation Army Employment Plus (SAEP), Submission 199, p. 35.

[19]Training Alliance Group (TAG), Submission 195, p. 4.

[20]CPF–UQ, Submission 217, p. 4.

[21]Anglicare WA, Submission 127, pages [6–7, 10].

[22]Julian, private capacity, Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p. 27.

[23]Matthew Ford, Submission 7, pages [3, 5, 6]

[24]Regional Development Australia (RDA) Kimberly, Submission 105, p. [4].

[25]Name Withheld, Submission 162, p. [5].

[26]DEWR, Submission 254, p. 65. See also Ms Melissa Ryan, First Assistant Secretary—Workforce Australia for Individuals, DEWR, Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p. 44.

[27]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 36.

[28]Ms Ryan, DEWR, Committee Hansard, 3November2022, p.45.

[29]Dr Louise O'Rance, Assistant Secretary—Data Management and Reporting, DEWR, Committee Hansard, 20September 2023, p. 47.

[30]DEWR, Submission 254, pages 65–66.

[31]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 33.

[32]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 34.

[33]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 34.

[34]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 34.

[35]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 47.

[36]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 47.

[37]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 49.

[38]See, for example, MAX Solutions (MAX), Submission 146, p. 12; WDEA Works, Submission 168, p. 5; JobsAustralia, Submission 185, p. 7; SAEP, Submission 199, pages 11, 35; APM, Submission 213, pages 10–11.

[39]Dr David O’Halloran, Submission 108, p. [4]. See also Sarina Russo Job Access (SRJA), Submission 145, p.11.

[40]Asuria People Services (Asuria), Submission 246, p. 21. Asuria emphasised that the risks and impacts are still greater for more vulnerable people who should never have been allocated to digital services.

[41]CareerOne, Submission 311, p. [2].

[42]CareerOne, Submission 311, pages [4, 6].

[43]Ms Ryan, DEWR, Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p. 45.

[44]Ms Ryan, DEWR, Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p. 48.

[45]See, for example, VERTO, Submission 202, p. [20]; APM, Submission 213, p. 10.

[46]SRJA, Submission 145, p. 12.

[47]SRJA, Submission 145, p. 12.

[48]National Employment Services Association (NESA), Submission 260, p. 52.

[49]NESA, Submission 260, pages 52–53.

[50]DEWR, Submission 254, p. 66. See also DEWR Submission 254.5, p. 42.

[51]DEWR, Submission 254, p. 66.

[52]See DEWR (2021), New Employment Services Trial Evaluation Phase 1 Report, pages 126–127,, viewed 20 November 2023.

[53]DEWR, Submission 254, pages 65-66. See also Ms Ryan, DEWR, Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p. 48.

[54]DEWR, Submission 254.5 p. 40.

[55]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 41.

[56]DEWR, Submission 254.1, pages [19-25].

[57]DEWR, Submission 254, p. 41.

[58]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 39.

[59]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 40.

[60]DEWR, Submission 254, p. 66.

[61]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 18.

[62]See, for example, CVGT, Submission 106, p. 15; Campbell Page, Submission 150, p. [7]; Workskil Australia (Workskil), Submission 196, p. 16; APM, Submission 213, pages 10–11; Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Submission 236, p. 4; Asuria, Submission 246, p. 22.

[63]SYC Ltd (SYC), Submission 188, p. 9.

[64]See, for example, WDEA Works, Submission 168, p. 5; Jobs Australia, Submission 185, p. 7; SYC, Submission 188, p. 9; NESA, Submission 260, p. 52.

[65]MatchWorks, Submission 263, p. 4.

[66]MAX, Submission 146, p. 12.

[67]See, for example, CoAct, Submission 151, p. 11; APM, Submission 213, p. 11; Asuria, Submission 246, p.22.

[68]NESA, Submission 260, p. 52. See also SAEP, Submission 199, pages 11–12. SAEP stated that it would expect that the majority of jobseekers in online services find work within the first six months.

[69]DEWR, Submission 254, p. 67. An overview of participant-initiated transfers from online to provider-led services, as well as transfers supported by the virtual digital assistant and the DSCC, is included in Attachment F of DEWR’s supplementary submission. See DEWR, Submission 254, pages 57–64.

[70]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 35.

[71]EJA, Submission 153.1, p. 6.

[72]SCoA, Submission 211, p. 15.

[73]APM, Submission 213, p. 10.

[74]See, for example, Julie, private capacity, Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p. 35.

[75]Dr Michael McGann, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2203, p. 24.

[76]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 37. See also Ms Ryan, DEWR, Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p.48.

[77]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 35.

[78]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 10.

[79]Name Withheld, Submission 118, p. [1].

[80]Dr O'Halloran, Advocacy and Research Officer, Australian Unemployed Workers' Union (AUWU), Committee Hansard, 19 September 2023, p. 5

[81]DEWR, Submission 254, p. 90.

[82]DEWR, Submission 254, p. 91.

[83]DEWR, Submission 254.5, p. 43.

[84]Ms Nicolle Johnston, Assistant Secretary—Digital Experience and Services, DEWR, Committee Hansard, 3November2022, p. 49.

[85]DEWR, Submission 254.5, pages 43–44.

[86]ACCI, Submission 236, p. 3.

[87]See, for example, Campbell Page, Submission 150, p. [7]; Per Capita, Submission 252, p. 51.

[88]See, for example, Mr Matthew Ford, Submission 7, p. [2]. Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Submission 172, p. [2].

[89]SEEK, Submission 242, p. 8.

[90]SEEK, Submission 242, p. 7.

[91]Mr Cliff Bingham, Assistant Secretary—Labour Market Research and Analysis, Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA), Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p. 61.

[92]See, for example, CVGT, Submission 106, p. 20; SAEP, Submission 199, p. 52; atWork, Submission 210, p.[11]; Associate Professor Jo Ingold (Dr Ingold) and Mr Tony Carr, Submission 216, pages 4–5; Brotherhood of St Laurance (BSL), Submission 249, p. 55.

[93]Dr Ingold, private capacity, Committee Hansard, 16 June 2023, p. 8.

[94]Ms Trengove, Jobs Victoria, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p. 54.

[95]ALGA, Submission 172, p. [2].

[96]SEEK, Submission 242, p. 11

[97]SEEK, Submission 242, p. 12.

[98]Mr Dan Ehlers, Submission 90, p. 1.