Chapter 3 - Jurisdictional scan

  1. Jurisdictional scan

This chapter provides an overview of key state, and international employment programs which helped inform the Committee's considerations in reforming Australia's national system.

The Committee has undertaken extensive domestic and international engagement and research during its inquiry. This has included discussions with state, territory, and local governments, in addition to engagement with service providers, employers, jobseekers, and other stakeholders. The Committee also conducted a European delegation to meet with representatives of five member countries of the Organisation for International Cooperation and Development (OECD) and more intensively explore the design and delivery of employment services in France, Ireland, the Netherlands, and Denmark. This allowed the Committee to take a truly comprehensive approach to its examination of the Australian employment services system, informed by advice and experience from other jurisdictions.

The majority of the states and territories have implemented their own programs to assist jobseekers and employers. Some are explicitly designed to respond to gaps and failures in the Commonwealth system, while others are designed to work alongside Commonwealth programs—including where a state- or territory-based service is better equipped to respond to specific labour market needs than a national system. This was particularly the case in jurisdictions where factors such as caseload demographics, seasonal work arrangements, and the unique circumstances of local labour markets make bespoke, place-based programs a necessity. Key programs and initiatives which are examined in this Chapter, and which are referenced elsewhere in this report, include:

  • Jobs Victoria. This program was established in 2016 to address identified gaps in the Federal system. Key services include mentors, advocates, and career counsellors. The program also provides support for large employment projects in priority sectors and offers a free service to match employers with local candidates.
  • Opportunity Wyndham. This is an initiative designed and implemented by the Wyndham City Council, working in partnership with training providers, employers, community-based organisations, and service providers. It aims to create pathways to employment for local jobseekers and has a strong focus on working with local businesses to broker work opportunities.
  • Jobs Tasmania. This is the Tasmanian Government’s main employment service. The core program supported by Jobs Tasmania is the Regional Job Hubs Network. This comprises a network of hubs operating in all local government areas (LGAs), which work with jobseekers and employers to create pathways to employment.
  • The Queensland Good people, Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022–2032. This is a 10-year whole-of-government strategy that aims to meet skills needs and support industry transitions. It provides strategic direction for several programs, including Skilling Queenslanders for Work (support for disadvantaged people), Back to Work (financial incentives for business to employ disadvantaged people), and the Regional Jobs Committees (facilitation program which brings together stakeholders from a range of sectors to align training and employment solutions with local needs).
  • Jobs and Skills WA. This is a Western Australian Government entity which is responsible for directing State Government investment in training and employment support and provides a ‘one stop shop’ for jobseekers and employers. A core part of the program is the Jobs and Skills Centres, which support jobseekers to access to access a range of employment and training programs.

There was support for greater integration and coordination across all levels of government to reduce duplication and enhance choice for clients and employers, as well as for partnerships between the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions. Integration and coordination are discussed in more detail in Chapter4, while partnerships are considered in Chapter 16.

The Committee engaged with a range of stakeholders, programs, and services during its European delegation. Illustrative examples from which lessons and examples of good practice may be drawn include:

  • The French Territories with Zero Long-Term Unemployment (TZCLD) project. This is a trial initiative that provides employment opportunities with social enterprises for people who are long-term unemployed (LTU). It aims to demonstrate that it is possible to offer employment on an indefinite basis to any person who is deprived of work without additional cost to the community.
  • The Irish Community Employment (CE) scheme. This program is designed to support LTU and disadvantaged people return to work by offering part-time and temporary placements in jobs based within local communities.
  • The Irish Local Area Employment Service (LAES). This offers intensive, community-based supports to people who have been unemployed for over two years, as well as post-placement support to enable clients to remain in work over the longer term.
  • Dutch Labour Experts, who provide tailored support and assessment services to clients. Labour Experts have a strong tradition in the Netherlands and are valued as a specialised profession with a governing body and certification requirements.
  • The Royal Philips employment scheme (WGP) in the Netherlands, which offers participants paid work experience, apprenticeships, and placements with community-based organisations.
  • Danish Job Centres, which are operated by municipal authorities and facilitate employment, education, and training opportunities for clients. Job Centres have strong relationships with local employers and human services, and a focus on integrating employment and social assistance.

State and territory government programs

3.1The majority of the states and territories have implemented their own programs to assist jobseekers and employers. These vary in scope from larger programs which resemble the Commonwealth service offer, to smaller programs that respond to specific needs. In most if not all cases, programs are designed to respond to the state or territory’s unique labour market conditions.

3.2Some State and Territory Governments noted that their services respond to identified gaps in the Commonwealth system. Others noted that their services are designed to work alongside Commonwealth programs—including where a place-based service is better equipped to respond to specific labour market needs than a national system. This was particularly the case in jurisdictions such as the Northern Territory, where factors such as caseload demographics (for example, a high proportion of First Nations jobseekers), seasonal work arrangements, and the unique circumstances of local labour markets make bespoke, place-based programs a necessity.

3.3There was also widespread support for greater integration and coordination across Commonwealth, state and territory, and local government programs to reduce duplication and enhance choice for clients and employers. This is explored more in Chapter 4.

3.4Key elements of the Victorian, Tasmanian, Queensland, and Western Australian employment services policies and programs are outlined below. The Committee had the opportunity to speak to the responsible government departments and agencies, and in some cases was able to organise site visits related to those outlined below.

3.5In addition to state- and territory-based programs, the Committee considered service models at the local government level.


Jobs Victoria

3.6Jobs Victoria is the Victorian Government’s lead entity for the State Government’s employment services. It was established in 2016 to address identified gaps in the Commonwealth employment services system, including the system’s prohibitive eligibility criteria and failure to support jobseekers with complex barriers to employment.[1]

3.7Key features of Jobs Victoria include the following services:

  • Jobs Victoria Mentors, who provide personalised support to assist jobseekers improve their employability and source suitable opportunities.
  • Jobs Victoria Advocates, who connect with people looking for work in their local communities and providing information, support, and links to training.
  • Jobs Victoria Career Counsellors, who provide career guidance for those who are looking for work or seeking a career change. Qualified First Nations trainers are employed to work with First Nations communities.
  • Priority Workforce Projects. Delivered via the Jobs Victoria Fund and provides support for large employment projects in sectors with workforce shortages. The program includes 12-month work opportunities, industry training, and mentoring.
  • The Jobs Victoria online hub. A free service to match employers with skilled, local candidates.[2]
    1. The Jobs Victoria Mentors, Advocates, and Career Counsellor services are delivered by a state-wide network of over 75 local partners with a workforce of more than 500 people. A further 37 partners deliver Priority Workforce Projects.[3]
    2. Key design principles that underpin the Jobs Victoria approach include:
  • Voluntary participation. According to the Victorian Government, a voluntary model fosters relationships of trust the between provider and participant. This encourages engagement and enables the system to effectively identify and address barriers to social and economic participation.
  • Local, place-based solutions. Delivery models in Jobs Victoria were developed in partnership with local entities. 71percent of partners deliver services in just one of the 15 regions. Services are available in over 70 languages and 22percent of service partners specialise in supporting multicultural jobseekers.
  • Employer engagement. Jobs Victoria partners with local training organisations, employment services providers, employer groups and peak bodies to develop and connect jobseekers to innovative employment and education pathways that meet employers’ needs. Jobs Victoria also supports social enterprise, recognising that social enterprises often drive innovation and are able to deliver bespoke services to vulnerable jobseekers.
  • An innovative commissioning approach. Mentors were procured through a competitive reverse tender process where service providers proposed ideas and outlined associated costs. Jobs Victoria indicated that this encouraged innovation and flexibility and resulted in a more diverse set of providers and delivery models.
  • Partnership approach to contract management. Rather than taking a ‘set and forget’ approach to services, the Victorian Government is actively involved in monitoring, evaluation, and reporting.
  • Centralising responsibility within a single government department to deliver integrated services and centralise best-practice expertise.[4]
    1. Greater South East Melbourne (GSEM) told the Committee that the Jobs Victoria model—and particularly Advocates and Career Counsellors—has been particularly effective in enabling jobseekers to access jobs which align with their aspirations. Moreover, the Career Counselling service has enabled participants to make more informed choices about their training and career pathways.[5]
    2. The Government of Victoria argued that the Federal Government should invest in a modern national employment system, drawing on the principles that underpin Jobs Victoria. Similarly, the Federal Government should consider a voluntary system and that compliance must be decoupled from service delivery to allow providers to direct more and effort to supporting jobseekers.[6]
    3. Per Capita noted that in addition to Jobs Victoria, the State Government offers Skills and Jobs Centres (part of the TAFE network); Local Learning and Employment networks which coordinate and map youth transitions activities and opportunities; and social enterprises which seek to create employment and work experience for disadvantaged people. Per Capita indicated that these programs are not integrated into the national employment services system.[7]
    4. The Victorian Government told the Committee that following the 2023–24 Victorian State Budget there has been a reduction in levels of investment in Jobs Victoria and a corresponding reduction in the reach of the program. The Mentors program, for example, will transition from a state-wide service to a service available in five local government areas (LGAs) that have been identified as having a significant number of jobseekers living with disadvantage. The Victorian Government stated that these changes acknowledge the role of the Australian Government as being primarily responsible for employment services, with State Government focusing on more bespoke and place-based services.[8]
    5. The Victorian Government stated that they would be ‘really keen’ to continue working with the Commonwealth through a partnership between the Australia Government and Victorian Government, and explained that that such a partnership could involve:
  • formal or informal governance arrangements;
  • sharing of labour market data and other relevant information;
  • the Victorian Government supporting Commonwealth tender processes;
  • the Victorian Government continuing to focus on delivering place-based services, integrated into the national system; and
  • additional funding commitments from the Commonwealth.[9]
    1. The Victorian Government expressed a desire for partnership arrangements to be progressed as soon as possible and argued that the Victorian Government should be involved in the broader re-design of the Commonwealth employment services system, noting that Jobs Victoria has significant insights to share which could inform the re-design process.[10]

Opportunity Wyndham

3.16Opportunity Wyndham is an initiative designed and implemented by the Wyndham City Council working in partnership with training providers, employers, community-based organisations, and service providers in the Victorian and Commonwealth employment services systems. The City of Wyndham is a local government area in the outer south-western suburbs of Melbourne. The initiative aims to create pathways to employment for local jobseekers and has a strong focus on working with local businesses to broker work opportunities.[11]

3.17Opportunity Wyndham partners collaborate to ensure that the support provided to jobseekers is aligned with both employers’ needs and the skill and workforce requirements of local industry. The service aims to enable wrap-around supports for families, as well as for the individual jobseeker.[12]

3.18Most employers engaged through Opportunity Wyndham are small to medium enterprises which often lack the resources to support tailored pathways to employment. These employers will often need additional HR support, including with onboarding new employers and with adapting roles to the circumstances of jobseekers.[13]

3.19Wyndham City Council and partners in Opportunity Wyndham noted that:

  • critical to the success of the program is that the Wyndham City Council is trusted by the local community. The Opportunity Wyndham model is unlikely to function in areas where there is low trust in government;
  • there is also significant value in the Wyndham City Council being one of the largest employers in the region;
  • the Opportunity Wyndham model is not compromised by compliance activities. Participation is entirely voluntary;
  • Opportunity Wyndham enables a single point of contact for employers who often distrust Workforce Australia providers and who are seeking access to a larger talent pool;
  • Opportunity Wyndham partners spend time with employers to understand their needs. This enables identification and adjustment of work arrangements that discourage jobseekers from applying; and
  • Opportunity Wyndham is designed such that one team supports individuals and another advocates for business. This creates better outcomes for all stakeholders.
    1. The Centre for Policy Development (CPD) told the Committee that its blueprint for regional job deals identified the ingredients for success from programs like Opportunity Wyndham and set out a guide for scaling such programs nationally.[14] According to the CPD, national scaling of job deals would include the following elements:
  • For the national employment services system: national licencing or accrediting of service providers; support for innovative service models, including via industry partnerships; a national body for pricing and activity-based funding; a fee structure reflecting goals of different services (with scope to adjust); a national governance body; independent impact assessments; and measures to share good practice.
  • For Regional Job Deals: Regional governance and engagement, enabling the tailoring of employment programs, and a pool of positions identified through local networks and regional data. These could include pathways for recovering and growing industries and businesses; jobs to be preserved via short-term wage subsidies; and pathways for new and emerging industries.
  • ForCommunity Deals: Local collaboration; activities and services that facilitate pathways to jobs; local governance and engagement with local community and industry; local taskforces; and coordination of service delivery and engagement with local employers via a ‘backbone’ organisation.[15]


3.21Jobs Tasmania is the Tasmanian Government’s main employment service. It works across government, community, and business, and aims to increase employment outcomes and drive engagement with work, education, and training.[16]

3.22The core program supported by Jobs Tasmania is the Regional Jobs Hub Network. Hubs cover every LGA in the state and are embedded in local communities. They are overseen by a Board with local expertise drawn from community, local government, and business sectors. This is critical to the place-based approach that underpins the Jobs Hub model. As a key part of the design of the Jobs Hub Network, the Tasmanian Government acts as system steward and partner.[17]

3.23Job Hubs respond to perceived issues and gaps in the Commonwealth service, including short-term incentives, a competitive funding model, a mismatch between training and industry skills requirements, and a disconnection from communities.[18]

3.24The Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) noted that Hubs use a mix of interventions to support jobseekers and employers, tailored to local labour markets. The hubs work proactively with employers to identify current and future workforce needs and to facilitate bespoke employment pathways for clients, including leveraging community networks to drive employment outcomes.[19] The Committee heard several times during site visits that over half the jobs in Tasmania are sourced via networks and word of mouth. This is particularly the case in regional areas.

3.25Engagement with Job Hubs is entirely voluntary and is not restricted to persons in receipt of income support. The Tasmanian Government indicated that this allows the hubs to offer a greater pool of candidates to potential employers, and to better meet industry need. Jobs Hubs can, however, also support participants in Commonwealth employment services. Around half of the hubs’ clients are Workforce Australia participants. Some hubs also work closely with Workforce Australia providers.[20]

3.26The Tasmanian Government emphasised that the servicing model for Job Hubs is relational, not transactional, and is built on principles of trust and care, stating that this is critical to building the hubs’ credibility. The Tasmanian Government indicated that relational service delivery is often missing from Commonwealth programs, and illustrated this issue using the following case study:

A Workforce Australia job seeker attended a Regional Jobs Hub at the request of their provider. The job seeker was unsure why they had been referred to the Hub, and the Hub had not received any communication from the Workforce Australia provider to introduce the participant or provide detail about the job seeker's history or circumstances … This disconnect also demonstrates the power imbalance that can occur between job seekers and providers …

[F]rom their first interaction the Hub was able to start building trust and credibility with the jobseeker by offering relevant advice on local training opportunities and complementary support services.

In this instance, stronger collaboration and communication between State and Federal employment services would have improved the provision of support.[21]

3.27Several stakeholders indicated that the Jobs Hubs model could complement existing Commonwealth services, including as part of a better integrated and coordinated national employment services system. Stakeholders also indicated that integration of services like the Job Hubs is key to enabling place-based solutions.[22]

3.28The Tasmanian Government stated that they would welcome the opportunity to work with the Australian Government on a place-based and person- and business-centric approach to employment services, noting that inefficiencies, barriers, and distrust in the employment services system would need to be addressed as part of this work.[23]

3.29The Tasmanian Government suggested the following key features of a trial partnership with the Commonwealth:

  • the Commonwealth funds 50 per cent of the Jobs Hub network;
  • the partnership is facilitated through a project agreement which captures coinvestment in core services and in evaluation;
  • the Commonwealth is represented on a Tasmanian Governance Group including the Tasmanian Department of State Growth and Department of Education, Children and Young People, Tasmanian Council of Social Service, and industry representatives—with the group to provide oversight over the implementation and evolution of the pilot; and
  • a single line of accountability through Tasmania to the Commonwealth based on activity and outcomes negotiated with Hubs through their local advisory boards.[24]
    1. The Tasmanian Government noted that this partnership would require changes to the Commonwealth employment services system, including:
  • reducing compliance and enforcement;
  • focusing providers’ time and resources on personalised support for clients on their caseloads;
  • redesigning Job Plans in consultation with the Tasmanian Job Hubs and other State Government programs; and
  • changes to how the Employment Fund (EF) is administered, including allowing funding to be used for activities delivered by Job Hubs and for intensive support for high-needs participants.[25]


3.31Good people, Good jobs: Queensland Workforce Strategy 2022–2032 is a 10-year, whole-of-government strategy that aims to meet skills needs and support industry transitions.[26] Specific programs under the strategy include:

  • Skilling Queenslanders for Work. Training and support for unemployed or underemployed Queenslanders, with a focus on disadvantaged cohorts such as youth, First Nations, mature age, people with disability, and women re-entering the workforce. Around 25 per cent of participants are also in Workforce Australia.

The program focuses on learning pathway to Certificate III level qualifications. Contracted providers deliver support to address personal, health and social issues. Around 75per cent of participants secured employment or went on to further training.

  • Back to Work. Provides support to businesses to employ jobseekers who face disadvantage in the labour market. Includes incentives payments of up to $20,000 and wrap-around support.
  • VET support. Supports and encourages participants to develop the skills needed for sustained employment, targeting key industries and cohorts such as youth and school students and First Nations peoples.
  • Diverse Queensland Workforce. The program seeks to increase opportunities for work-ready migrants, refugees, and international students through provision of a one-stop shop employment and training service.
  • Workforce Connect Fund. Provides funding to small businesses to assist with HR solutions, with up to $5000 available. The program complements the Growing Workforce Participation Fund which provides grants between $20,000-$200,000 to industry groups to boost workforce participation.
  • Regional Jobs Committees. Nine committees established in regional areas to bring together local businesses, government, communities, training providers, and industry to ensure training and employment solutions align with local needs.[27]
    1. Queensland also delivers the Transition 2 Success program which supports young people in or at risk of entering the youth justice system. The program focuses on lowering risks of offending via engagement in work, education, and training. A 2018 evaluation of the program identified reduced levels of recidivism following completion and positive engagement with the program. Moreover, cost benefit analyses showed that every dollar spent on the program resulted in $2.13 of benefit.[28]
    2. The Queensland Government has also established Jobs Queensland as an independent statutory entity. Unlike Jobs Victoria and Jobs Tasmania, JobsQueensland does not deliver employment services, but rather provides strategic advice on future skills needs, workforce planning and development, and apprenticeships and traineeships.[29] The Queensland Government indicated that Jobs Queensland performs a similar role to Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) within Queensland.

Western Australia

3.34In Western Australia, training and employment assistance is enabled via Jobs and Skills WA. Jobs and Skills WA also directs State Government investment in training and employment support and is intended as a ‘one stop shop’ for jobseekers and employers.[30]

3.35A core part of Jobs and Skills WA is the Jobs and Skills Centres. These are often colocated with TAFEs, and support jobseekers to access a wide range employment and training programs. The services offered through the Jobs and Skills Centres are available to any person, including those who are already in employment and who may be looking to upskill or reskill.[31]

3.36Each Jobs and Skills Centre employs First Nations staff and offers specialist support. Specialist services target cohorts such as new migrants, ex-offenders and those transitioning from the prison system, and veterans.[32]

3.37During a visit to a Jobs and Skills Centre, the Committee heard that staff often act as career counsellors, providing holistic support for those already studying. Services also focused on disengaged youth and often delivered advice and support on a oneoff basis. According to executive and frontline staff at the centre, the focus of the assistance is unlocking motivation, helping clients to target job applications and résumés, and upskilling clients through targeted training. Some centres have a clear industry focus and use their connections with industry and TAFEs to ensure that training is tailored to industry need. Centres’ connections with industry are also used to leverage job opportunities for participants.

3.38Jobs and Skills WA also offers the Job Reconnect program, a new initiative designed to support people seeking to return to the workforce and to address labour shortages in industries such as construction, hospitality, and health. Participants can access free training, career advice, and assistance to find a work placement. Eligible cohorts include workers aged 45 and over and people exiting the justice system.[33]

International programs

3.39The Committee engaged with a range of stakeholders, programs, and services during its European delegation.

3.40An outline of the organisations that the Committee met with during its delegation is included in Appendix D, with illustrative examples of programs from which lessons and examples of good practice may be drawn from outlined below.

Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development

3.41The majority of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) member countries operate public employment service programs. These are adapted to the unique needs of country-specific labour markets, and vary in terms of level of outsourcing, activation requirements, sanctions for non-compliance, and market structure and commissioning.[34]

3.42The Committee met with OECD representatives of Sweden, Germany, Belgium, Estonia, and Austria during its European delegation. Some key matters raised during the discussions are outlined below:

  • The potential of alternative commissioning approaches. Several countries have recognised that excessive competition leads to poor outcomes for clients, despite the widespread assumption that greater competition, contestability, and choice will result in better services. Sweden commissions one vocational provider per place, and Belgium uses a ‘3–6–9’ approach to contracting and performance management. Providers are offered nine-year contracts with three-year renewals, and the focus is on improving the performance of providers which are not delivering a quality service rather than on removing those providers from the system.
  • The role of funding in incentivising provider and client behaviours. Sweden uses statistical profiling to group clients into different groups based on how close to the labour market they are, with payments broken into ‘basic’ payments (for core case management assistance), outcome payments, and a ‘speed premium’ for outcomes achieved within six-months. Higher payments are made for people who are further away from the labour market. By contrast, Belgium (Flanders) applies a largely results-based funding approach, with outcome payments making up 40percent of the total cost of the contracts. Providers are expected to achieve an outcome for 65percent of jobseekers on their caseload.
  • The question of digitalisation in employment services. Several countries have experimented with digital only services—at least for jobseekers who are closest to the labour market—but have typically found that a hybrid service (online and face-to-face) delivers better outcomes for clients. Estonia, in particular, is making much greater use of data analytics and artificial intelligence (AI) to support job matching, innovation, evaluation, and research. Other countries such as South Korea are also harnessing data and AI to improve outcomes for clients.
  • The importance of employer engagement. The Estonian public employment service is underpinned by an employer strategy. This captures extensive liaison with employers and professional associations; administration of subsidies for employers; and the engagement of employer consultants in regions to assist with recruitment and system navigation. The Estonian system also includes measures to help prevent unemployment, including grants for companies to train new employees where employment occurs in areas of skill shortage.[35]
  • In the Netherlands, municipalities are legally required to work together with the Dutch Employee Insurance Agency (UWV)[36] to deliver employer-focused support through Employment Service Points. Through these points, employers can access information and advice on labour market developments in their area; workplace support and advice to engage staff from different cohorts (for example people with disability); and advice on workplace obligations.
  • The importance of continuous learning and development. In Austria, providers actively collaborate with and learn from each other, and there are consequences for providers which do not take this approach. Government also delivers services through regional offices. These offices cooperate to share learnings and enable continuous improvement and are subject to performance assessment using balanced score cards.[37] The Committee also discussed the role of experimentation and trialling, with countries such as Estonia and Sweden using Randomised Control Trials (RCTs) to test and learn from new and innovative approaches to service delivery.

France: Social enterprise and community work

3.43The Territories with Zero Long-Term Unemployment (TZCLD)[38] project was established in October 2016. It is premised on the ideas that no person is unemployable, that there is no shortage of work, and there is no lack of money, given that unemployment costs the community more than investment in job creation.[39]

3.44The TZCLD project is a trial initiative supported by the French public employment service. It seeks to demonstrate that—at the territory level—it is possible to offer employment on an indefinite basis to any person who is permanently deprived of work without cost to the community. This is done by creating and financing activities that do not compete with existing jobs and which meet identified community needs.

3.45An ’experimental law’ enacted in 2016 permitted the trialling of the project in 10 territories (geographical spaces with a population of 5,000 to 10,000, including up to 400 people permanently deprived of work). Territories are broadly coextensive with French municipalities. The project has been implemented in four phases:

  • Phase 1: explaining the project to and mobilising local stakeholders, including elected officials.
  • Phase 2: meeting with unemployed people and identifying their needs, skills and competencies, as well as what they agree to do and learn.
  • Phase 3: identifying the unmet needs within the location as presented by local actors, including residents, businesses, and other institutions.
  • Phase 4: establishing one or more businesses from which activities and services will be delivered by the long-term unemployed (LTU) participants in the project. This may involve establishing an entirely new business or expanding an existing enterprise.
    1. The first three phases are conducted by Local Employment Committees. Committees are led by an elected community representative (for example, a Mayor) and include unemployed people, employers, peak bodies, and community members. The fourth phase is conducted in partnership between the committee and employment-oriented businesses (EBEs)[40] established in the local community to support LTU people. These businesses are set up expressly to support employment outcomes (similar to Work Integrated Social Enterprises (WISEs) in Australia).
    2. Services delivered by participants on behalf of EBEs variously include community-based work including food and package delivery, transport services, bicycle repair, and social visits to isolated people; local development activities; and manufacturing work which has in some cased been ‘on-shored’ from other countries. Some EBEs are also involved in ‘green transition’ activities such as recycling programs. People engaged by EBEs are employees with work contracts, who engaged on a voluntary basis (that is, participation is not a condition of receiving income support).
    3. EBEs engaged by the project provide a substantial amount of wrap-around support to enable participants to succeed. The project also supports transitions to employment on the open market, with a guaranteed right to return to the EBE where necessary.
    4. During its European delegation, the Committee visited one of the EBEs engaged by the TZCLD project and explored the services the enterprise delivers. These included:
  • a social services team which provides support to older people with everyday tasks. A client of the service pays a yearly fee to receive up to two small services per week. For clients in social housing, the provider pays half of the fee;
  • a multi-service department for local businesses which provides delivery and other concierge services (such as dry-cleaning drop-off and pick-up) to workers in the area;
  • a re-use department, in which participants collect wood and build practical items such as tables, shelves, and other furniture, which are then sold; and
  • a café, located in a rehabilitation centre, with front- and back-of-house roles available, which provides low-cost meals to local residents.
    1. A second ‘experimental law’ was enacted in 2020 to expand the operation of the project in the original 10 territories and permit experimentation to an additional 50. It is planned to expand to 60 new territories between 2021 and 2026. Further, it is anticipated that, post-2026, there should be sufficient evidence to support expansion of the project to any territory that wishes to establish a right to employment for all residents.
    2. As of June 2021, 900 people had been recruited by participating EBEs in a range of roles.[41] This increased to increasing to around 2,000 by April2023. In addition, 1,000 people have found work on the open labour market after participating in the project.[42]

Ireland: Community work programs

3.52The Irish Community Employment (CE) scheme is designed to support LTU and disadvantaged people return to work by offering part-time and temporary placements in jobs based within local communities. The scheme is generally restricted to people between 21 and 55 years of age, who have been in receipt of an income support payment for at least 12 months.[43]

3.53Placements facilitated by the CE scheme typically last for one year, although these can be extended by up to two years where a person is working towards a major education award. People aged 55 and over may remain on the CE scheme for up to three years, and people aged 60 and over may remain on the CE continuously until qualifying for a State Pension.

3.54A person on the CE scheme must work for 19.5 hours per week (excluding breaks) for the relevant employer to be eligible for a grant towards the cost of that person’s wages. Participants are paid weekly by the sponsor and enjoy standard employment protections. Training is also provided to improve participants’ employment prospects. Each participant must have an individual learning plan where training is identified.

3.55A person may take also take up other part-time work while participating in the scheme. Typically, a placement lasts for one year. Following a placement under the CE scheme, a person is encouraged to look for a permanent job using the skills and experience acquired through participation.

3.56In 2017, a decision was taken to separate participants in the CE scheme into those for whom employment was a primary goal and those whose goals were focused on social participation. The scheme generates strong social outcomes and has the support of the local communities in which it operates. However, the Committee was told that evidence suggests the scheme is limited in supporting participants to move into open employment and enabling longer-term career progression. The scheme is best understood as an alternative to standard employment, rather than a stepping-stone to it.

3.57Discussions during the European delegation indicated that if Australia implemented a similar scheme, government should exercise caution to ensure existing jobs are not displaced. In addition, measures may be required to enable people to return to the program if a job on the open labour market is not successful.

Ireland: Services for long-term unemployed people

3.58In Ireland, jobseekers who are further away from the labour market may be referred to the IntreoPartners Local Area Employment Service (LAES).[44] The LAES is part of a reformed Irish public employment service, which has operated since 2022.[45]

3.59LAES providers are typically engaged from the community and voluntary sectors, and the service focuses on local solutions for jobseekers who have been continuously unemployed for more than two years. Clients are typically referred to the LAES for a period of one year. Clients develop a Personal Progression Plan with their provider, which includes a schedule of activities and job-focused targets. Where a person secures employment, they may access post-placement support for up to 17 weeks.

3.60Reflecting the fact that those referred to LAES are generally further from the labour market, funding is largely activity-base and tied to referral, agreement and servicing consistent with the Personal Progression Plan. A lesser amount of funding is conditional upon the client securing and sustaining employment. The caseload in LAES is also typically older, male, and with lower levels of completed education than other Active Labour Market Programs (ALMPs) in Ireland.[46]

3.61The Personal Progression Plan is monitored quarterly to assess progress, and that there is a strong focus in the LAES program on developing participants’ soft skills using a mix of workshops and support services. The provider also observed that it experiences challenges in delivering the service and in securing positive outcomes for participants. Many of these reflect the Australian experience. For example:

  • 52 weeks is a comparatively short time to make a disadvantaged person ‘jobready’. Many disadvantaged people have found a way to exist that they see as safe, and which may be disrupted if they were to seek work. It also takes time to help a disadvantaged person to develop their aspirations and confidence;
  • the system is choked by administration, case managers must spend around half their time on administrative tasks and have insufficient time to spend with clients; and
  • the government department with policy responsibility for employment services sees unemployed people as their clients and does not share sufficient information with contracted partners. Partners cannot see clients’ payment or work history, or the information they have shared with other partners.
    1. In discussions with academics in Ireland, the Committee heard that since the LAES services were implemented in 2022 there has been a move to performance-based contracting. This has seen a progressive de-skilling of frontline staff and a heavier administrative burden. One academic stated that the procurement ‘tail’ is now wagging the local service ‘dog’.

Netherlands: Staff professionalisation

3.63The Dutch Government engages specialist counsellors—Labour Experts or Advisors—to support jobseekers as part of the UWV’s administration of benefits and employment services.[47] Labour Experts have three key functions:

  • Assessing a person’s degree of disability based and capacity for work. In some cases, this may involve determining the loss of earning capacity for individuals who have been on sick leave for two years and assessing whether the person and their employer have engaged in mandatory work reintegration activities.
  • Providing counselling and support for jobseekers, including to enable jobseekers to make an informed choice about their service providers, and supports that complement the online service. Labour Experts also work with labour market partners, monitor their work with jobseekers, and support employers to find, hire, and retain staff.
  • Reviewing and assessing appeals of decisions made in other departments.[48]
    1. Labour Experts have a long tradition in the Netherlands and the role is valued as a specialised profession with its own professional body and certification requirements. Becoming an expert involves a one-year specialist course for individuals with a Bachelor level qualification.[49] There are around 3,500 recognised experts, with 1,400 working in the public sector and the remainder working in the private sector.[50]
    2. Labour Experts support clients to develop work reintegration plans. In actioning the support detailed in the plan, the Labour Expert can support the client directly or purchase other support, including supports from companies who meet UWV regulations to be approved suppliers, and supports delivered by the UWV in-house.
    3. Labour Experts also provide Modular Reintegration Support. This includes activation activities, help with social participation, and training and skills development.
    4. The Dutch employment services system makes use of an in-house tool, known as the ‘Participation Ladder’, in supporting clients. The ladder has six ‘rungs’, reflecting the client’s level of participation in society:

1Isolated, with little or no contact with people outside of the family circle.

2Some social contact outside of the home, but not in an organised context.

3Structured participation in activities.

4Fit for work, and either able to start paid work in paid work immediately; starting to work in a trial placement; or participating in a short vocational course to earn a certificate or diploma.

5In paid work, but unable to earn the legal minimum wage without support from a job coach and/or wage dispensation (financial support).

6In paid work and able to earn the legal minimum wage without additional support.

3.68Clients are assigned to a rung based on their actual activities, with the decision to assign a jobseeker to a rung made by the Labour Expert or a job counsellor. The Participation Ladder enables government to derive a significant amount of information about individual clients and about the impact of services. For example:

  • clarification of a client’s degree of active participation on their journey to work, which enables development of a tailored plan to support the client to reach the next ‘rung’ of the ladder;
  • greater detail and visibility around a client’s journey to work. Previously the Dutch employment service could only use ‘paid work resumption’ as a tangible result of the services delivered. The Participation Ladder adds detail around intermediate steps on the journey; and
  • clarification of the number of jobseekers on specific rungs of the ladder, which can be used for planning and system improvements.

Netherlands: Intermediate labour market

3.69The Royal Philips organisation (Philips) is a Dutch multinational conglomerate which manufactures and trades in a range of products, including software, consumer electronics and healthcare technology. Since 1983, Philips has offered a paid work experience through its scheme (WGP)[51], targeting people who are further from the labour market.[52] There have been over 13,000 participants in the program since its inception. Philips aims to have approximately one per cent of its workforce be participants in the program. The Committee engaged with Philips during its European delegation.

3.70One of the aims of the scheme is to reduce the risk aversion of potential employers associated with the costs of hiring and supporting people experiencing disadvantage, such as people with disability. This is achieved by building the person’s potential productivity through relevant work experience and training, along with the positive signalling of having work experience on participants’ résumés and the ability to leverage the strong reputation of Philips and WGP within the Dutch labour market.[53]

3.71Candidates are sourced by the UWV and by municipalities and are typically offered a one-year contract. A candidate cannot have previously worked for Phillips and must be in receipt of income support. The program offers paid work experience at above the minimum wage to assist with participants’ progress to employment in the open labour market. Participants also have access to a specifically designed development program and are supported by a designated workplace mentor who provides day-to-day guidance, along with a job coach who delivers one-on-one coaching and development. The role is an additional position within the relevant Philips department and does not replacing an existing role. Roles include ‘general’ positions (roles with any department in the company), apprenticeships, and secondments with community organisations.

3.72Around 70percent of WPG participants progress to paid employment (with Philips or elsewhere).[54] Representatives of Philips noted that participants achieved on average an eightpercent higher job security over a ten-year period post participation, relative to a control group. The greatest benefits were achieved for the most disadvantaged participants.

3.73Research also indicates that participation in Philips WGP resulted in better employment outcomes for people with disability relative to participation in public rehabilitation and employment programs. However, improvements were mostly observed in the first-year post placement, probably demonstrating the positive signalling effect of having worked for Philips. The research concluded that there may be value in other employers offering work experience programs like that offered by Philips to improve employment outcomes for people with disability, noting that this could enable employers to demonstrate corporate social responsibility.[55]

Denmark: Place-based solutions

3.74Employment services in Denmark are primarily delivered by local Job Centres managed by municipal authorities. Job Centres help to facilitate employment, education, and training opportunities for unemployed people, support people with health conditions to re-enter the labour market, and support employers to find suitable candidates. Jobcentres have strong relationships with employers and human services in the local area and have a focus on integrating unemployment and social assistance.[56]

3.75During its European delegation, the Committee heard that most very-LTU experience multiple barriers to unemployment that impact on their ability to actively participate in the labour market. Addressing these barriers—including via referrals to other human services—is a key function of the Job Centres.

3.76There are essentially five different service streams operating within a Job Centre:

  • youth (people under 30), noting the primary goal for people under 25 is education rather than employment;
  • unemployed people 30 years and over;
  • people who hold higher-level qualifications;
  • people needing support with core foundation and employability skills (targeted to clients with more significant non-vocational barriers); and
  • unemployed people experiencing sickness or disability.
    1. Job Centres conduct upfront assessments focused on matters such as the client’s motivation to find work and the client’s support needs. Critical to the way that the assistance is delivered is that the frequency of contact between the client and their case manager is driven by the client’s unique needs. The case manager assesses these needs and determines the mix of activities with which the client will engage.
    2. A unique feature of the Danish Job Centres is the ‘ABC’ approach to employment pathway planning. This approach involves the case manager working with the client to develop separate pathway plans as follows:
  • Plan A: the dream job. This focuses on the client’s aspirations and does not necessarily represent a realistic end goal.
  • Plan B: the job for which the client is qualified.
  • Plan C: identify what are the jobs that the jobseeker could manage.
    1. Case managers work with clients to support progress within Plans A and B; that is, to achieve meaningful employment consistent with the client’s aspirations. However, case managers are subject to KPIs imposed by the national system, including measures focused on the speed at which a client is placed in work. Accordingly, in some cases Plan C becomes the focus of the client-caseworker relationship.
    2. The Committee heard that key strengths of a municipal-based approach to the delivery of employment services include stronger knowledge of and connections with local labour markets and employers, and the ability to coordinate interventions for vulnerable people and work in partnership with local actors.
    3. Denmark is currently considering a series of proposed reforms to the public employment services which appear to be driven by a combination of political circumstances, a desire for fiscal savings and concerns regarding overly punitive treatment of some jobseekers. Changes proposed include the closure of the centrally mandated Job Centres, giving municipalities greater freedom to design and deliver policies and programs and potentially greater roles for unemployment insurance funds (a system which Australia does not have). At the time of the Committee’s visit, stakeholders acknowledged that these potential reforms remain in flux and acknowledged the value of the Job Centres. A key related driver is a desired to ‘debureaucratise’ the public sector and provide more local freedom, responsibility, and commitment.[57]


[1]Government of Victoria, Submission 278, p.7.

[2]Government of Victoria, Submission 278, p.5. See also Australian Centre for Career Education (ACCE), Submission 149, p. 10. The ACCE observed that Career Counsellors are also engaged in several prisons to provide pre and post re-entry career guidance to inmates.

[3]Government of Victoria, Submission 278, p.5.

[4]Government of Victoria, Submission 278, pages7–14, 19, 22.

[5]Greater South East Melbourne (GSEM), Submission 155, p. [8].

[6]Government of Victoria, Submission 278, p. 25.

[7]Per Capita, Submission 252, p. [36].

[8]Ms Lill Healy, Deputy Secretary—Skills and Employment, Government of Victoria: Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry, and Regions (DJSIR), Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p. 12.

[9]Ms Healy, DJSIR, Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p. 13.

[10]See Ms Laura Trengove, Executvie Director—Employment, DJSIR, Committee Hansard, 20September2023, p. 13; Ms Healy, DJSIR, Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p. 15.

[11]Wyndham City Council, Opportunity Wyndham,, viewed 20November 2023.

[12]See Ms Annabel Brown, Deputy CEO, Centre for Policy Development (CPD), Committee Hansard, 14March2023, p.18; Mr Cliff Eberley, Program Director—Resilient People and Places, CPD, Committee Hansard, 14March2023, p.28.

[13]Mr Eberley, CPD, Committee Hansard, 14March2023, p.28.

[14]Ms Brown, CPD, Committee Hansard, 14March2023, p.18.

[15]CPD (2020), Blueprint for Community and Regional Job Deals, p. 12,, viewed 20 November 2023.

[16]Tasmanian Government, Jobs Tasmania,, viewed 20 November 2023.

[17]Tasmanian Government, Submission 174, pages[3, 6]. For a comprehensive outline of the Job Hubs framework, see Tasmanian Government, Submission 174.1, pages [2–6].

[18]Tasmanian Government: Department of State Growth (2023), Regional Jobs Hub–Progress Report,, viewed 20 November 2023.

[19]Brotherhood of St Laurance (BSL), Submission 249, p.32.

[20]Tasmanian Government, Submission 174, p.[6]. See also Jobs Hub Glenorchy, Further employment opportunities for local job seekers,, viewed 20 November 2023.

[21]Tasmanian Government, Submission 174, pages [7–8].

[22]See, for example, Jobs Australia, Submission 185, p.11; BSL, Submission 249, p.39; BSL, CPD and University of Melbourne (UniMelb), Submission 256, p.23.

[23]Tasmanian Government Submission 174, p.[1].

[24]Tasmanian Government Submission 174.2, p.[2].

[25]Tasmanian Government Submission 174.2, p.[2].

[26]Queensland Government: Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT), Submission243, p.4. Following machinery of government changes, the department is now the Department of Youth Justice, Employment, Small Business and Training.

[27]DESBT, Submission 243, pages5–9.

[28]Queensland Family and Child Commission, Submission 241, p. [3]. See also Queensland Government, About Transition 2 Success,, viewed20 November 2023.

[29]See Queensland Government: Jobs Queensland, Jobs Queensland,, viewed 20November2023.

[30]Government of Western Australia: Department of Training and Workforce Development (DTWD), Jobs and Skills WA,, viewed 20November2023; DTWD, Jobs and Skills WA,, viewed 20November2023.

[31]Ms Karen Ho, Director General, DTWD, Committee Hansard, 1February2023, pages 22, 24. See also MrBrad Jolly, Executive Director—Service Delivery, DTWD, Committee Hansard, 1February2023, p.25. Anexample of the programs to which individuals may be referred is the Job Ready Program, which delivers pre-employment short courses designed to address skills shortages in sectors such as aged care and disability.

[32]DWTD, Additional Documents: Answer to Question on Notice no 2, pages [2-3].

[33]Ms Ho, DWTD, Committee Hansard, 1February2023, p.24. See also DWTD, New Support for Jobseekers to Address Skills Shortage,, viewed 20 November 2023.

[34]For further detail on employment services systems in these and other Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries, see OECD (2022), Paying for results: Contracting out employment services through outcome-based payment schemes in OECD countries, Social, Employment and Migration Working Papers No. 267, 10.1787/c6392a59-en, viewed 20 November 2023.

[35]More information is available in OECD (2021), Improving the Provision of Active Labour Market Policies in Estonia,, viewed 20November2023.

[36]Full Dutch title: Uitvoeringsinstituut Werknemersverzekeringen.

[37]For detail, see Dr Ann Nevile, Submission 136, pages 1-3.

[38]Full French title: Territoires zéro chômeur de longue durée.

[39]Information on the project is available via TZCLD,, viewed 20November2023.

[40]Full French title: Entreprises à But d'Emploi.

[41]European Commission (2022), “Employment as a right”: new ways of integrating long-term unemployed people in sustainable jobs at the territorial level, p. 2, langId=en, viewed 20 November 2023.

[42]International Development Research Network (2023), Breaking the Cycle: Pioneering social enterprises to combat long-term unemployment,, viewed 20November2023.

[43]Information on the scheme is available via Irish Citizens Information Board, Community Employment (CE) scheme,, viewed 20 November 2023.

[44]Information on the service is available via the Hon Heather Humphries, Minister for Social Protection, Minister Humphreys announces outcome of the procurement for new nationwide Intreo Partner Employment Services, Media Release, 14July2022,, viewed 20November2023. See also Government of Ireland: Economic and Evaluation Service (2023), The Structure and Usage of the Public Employment Service, p. 12,, viewed 20November2023; Irish National Organisation of the Unemployed (2022), Ireland’s Reconfigured Public Employment Service,, viewed 20 November 2023.

[45]Intreo is the Irish public employment service. For information, see Government of Ireland: Department of Social Protection, Intreo,, viewed 20 November 2023.

[46]Government of Ireland: Economic and Evaluation Service (2023), The Structure and Usage of the Public Employment Service, pages 12, 25, 27.

[47]See, UWV, About UWV, detail/organization, viewed 20 November 2023. See also OECD (2023), Policy Options for Labour Market Challenges in Amsterdam and Other Dutch Cities, p. 97,, viewed 20November 2023.

[48]OECD (2023) Contracted employment services in the Netherlands: Study visit report, p. 9; emp/Project21SE03StudyVisitReport.pdf, viewed 20 November 2023. See also, Dutch Association of Labour Experts (2010), A labour expert (or occupational assessor), documenten/download/475, viewed 20November2023. There are about 200 external providers nationally.

[49]OECD (2023) Contracted employment services in the Netherlands: Study visit report, p. 8.

[50]Dutch Association of Labour Experts, Working Area,, viewed 20November2023.

[51]Full Dutch name: Phillips Werkgelegenheidsplan.

[52]See Phillips (2019), Want to gain work experience at Philips? Take advantage of the Philips Employment Scheme (WGP), p. [2–4],, viewed 20 November 2023.

[53]R Peijin and T Wilthagen (2022), ‘Labour Market Reintegration of Individuals with a Physical and Cognitive Disability by a Company-Based Work-Experience Program’, International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, 69(5), p. 1798.

[54]Phillips (2019), Want to gain work experience at Philips? Take advantage of the Philips Employment Scheme (WGP), p. [2].

[55]R Peijin and T Wilthagen (2022), Labour Market Reintegration of Individuals with a Physical and Cognitive Disability by a Company-Based Work-Experience Program, International Journal of Disability, Development and Education, pages 1806–1807.

[56]Information available via Danish Government: Agency for Labour Market and Recruitment, Municipalities,, viewed 20November 2023.

[57]Danish Government (2023), Denmark’s National Reform Programme 2023, pages 22, 41,, viewed 20 November 2023.