Chapter 4 - Foundation principles for a future Australian system

  1. Foundation principles for a future Australian system

As outlined in Chapter 2 of this report, there are several critical issues in the design and implementation of the employment services system that are preventing it from delivering a high-quality service to jobseekers and employers. These issues cannot be addressed by mere adjustments to policies or programs, but demand wholesale system reform.

This chapter and those which follow outline an ambitious blueprint for the redesign of employment services, under the auspices of a Commonwealth Employment Services System. All elements of a rebuilt national system should be client-centred, having been co-designed with jobseekers, employers, unions, peak bodies, all levels of government, and other key stakeholders.

This chapter in particular establishes the underpinning architecture for this blueprint by outlining principles to underpin the design of the future Commonwealth Employment Services System with the goal of optimising services for unemployed and underemployed Australians and for business. The Committee concedes that the principles proposed will need to be subject to further refinement.

For the employment services system to deliver the best outcomes, it must proceed from a set of clear, explicit goals and objectives that go beyond the work first / human capital dichotomy. The system should not just be about moving people off income support. Instead, it must build the social and economic capacity of individuals, recognising that some people need support to engage or re-engage with employment while others need support to engage with opportunities available in their communities or with services that improve their wellbeing.

A higher priority must be placed on employer engagement and having an attractive service for businesses. At present, the system is focused on supply and largely divorced from demand—particularly when compared to public employment services in other countries. There is a broader role for government to partner with employers and create opportunities for individuals at risk of disengagement from the labour market.

The system also needs to respond to the challenges of an increasingly dynamic labour market with significant regional variations and ongoing structural adjustments. Jobseekers need to be given the opportunity to obtain the qualifications and skill sets demanded by local employers. Employers also need access to advice on job design and recruitment to play their part in addressing disadvantage and reducing inequity. Asa by-product, the employment services system can contribute to broader goals related to workforce productivity and developing an accessible and inclusive labour market. A key example of success would be designing a system that provides adaptive and flexible responses to the growing workforce demands of a net-zero economy.

Evidence overwhelmingly highlighted the need for a coordinated, coherent approach to policies and programs that support jobseekers and employers, as well as a governance structure which enables collaboration across portfolios and jurisdictions. This is critical given the complexity and fragmentation of the current system.

A simplified, accessible model requires much better integration across human services and across all levels of government. Integration of a full range of supports—including training and education, career advice, social enterprises and place-based approaches, social services, and allied health—is needed to build the capacity of individuals and their families. Minimising if not eliminating duplication of effort is also a critical area of policy work for responsible agencies. Some programs could be brought under the Workforce Australia brand while work is undertaken towards consolidating others. The Committee has also reached an in-principle conclusion that Disability Employment Services (DES) should be integrated into a rebuilt Commonwealth Employment Services System, acknowledging there are a number of ways in which this could occur.

There is also a clear need for far greater public stewardship and service capability. Stakeholders have called for government to take on an active role as the steward and co-producer of employment services, and to build and maintain a service culture of collaboration and constant improvement. This will require greater leadership on the part of the Australian Government and formalised arrangements with other jurisdictions. As such, a new model for governance has been put forward that would see the creation of:

  • Employment Services Australia (ESA)—within the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR)—which would provide some aspects of service delivery and manage contracts for delivery partners.
  • Employment Services Quality Commission—a new regulatory entity independent from DEWR.
  • ESA Client Council(s) and an Employment Services Coordinating Council to facilitate ongoing feedback and input from clients, advocacy organisations, stakeholders, and policy experts.

DEWR would retain many of its existing functions and be responsible for facilitating vertical alignment between Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments, and local policies and programs. Some program responsibilities may need to move to DEWR.

The Australian Government should also consider leveraging procurement for major projects and other appropriate service contracts to provide opportunities for jobseekers in employment services. In addition, government agencies should be resourced to create more entry-level positions for jobseekers, including internships and traineeships.

The Committee acknowledges that redesigning the system will take time and is likely to require additional investment. However, there are likely to be some savings realised via consolidation of programs and—in the longer term—a reduction in costs across the human services ecosystem as employment services improve. This said, the goal of employment services should not be to endlessly reduce costs but to ensure that clients of the system receive and benefit from quality services.

Core objectives to underpin services

4.1Several stakeholders argued that for the employment services system to deliver the best outcomes for all stakeholders, it must proceed from a set of clear, explicit goals and objectives. Stakeholders made a range of proposals for the objectives of a future employment services system, broadly grouped into the following categories:

  • assist individuals to build economic and social capabilities, including by increasing the likelihood of sustainable employment, reducing risks of long-term unemployment, and contributing to other positive outcomes by addressing non-vocational barriers and enabling social participation;[1]
  • assist businesses and industries to meet their workforce needs, including by helping employers to fill vacancies with suitable candidates and partnering with businesses and industries to better meet future skill and labour needs;[2]
  • contribute to workforce productivity, including by building jobseekers’ skills and capabilities and facilitating access to training and education for indemand occupations;[3] and
  • contribute to labour market equity, including by offering support targeted to under-represented and disadvantaged jobseekers and by supporting businesses with recruitment or workforce planning needs.[4]
    1. Professor JeffBorland noted that in designing goals, objectives, and underpinning policy architecture for an employment services system, it is critical to move beyond the dichotomy of work first and human capital development, and to acknowledge the heterogeneity of jobseekers and the various types of assistance they may need. Professor Borland stated that there will be some jobseekers who will benefit from moving into work as fast as possible, and others for whom substantial help will be needed to address both vocational and non-vocational barriers.[5]
    2. The National Employment Services Association (NESA) and Per Capita emphasised that the objectives of employment services must be realistic and well defined so as not to be meaningless. Moreover, once objectives are determined, they must be translated into policy and enabled via program design, operational arrangements, and resource allocation—supported by co-design with jobseekers, employers, providers, and other key stakeholders.[6]
    3. The Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union (AUWU) noted that there are examples of international programs being ‘plugged in’ to the lived experience of service users. The AUWU clarified that they strongly advocated for a client-centred program—that is, a program designed around and responsive to client needs—rather than a client-led or co-designed program.[7] Research conducted by one member of the AUWU in partnership with other scholars outlined the benefits of programs which respond directly to the experiences of clients and support continuous improvement:

Evidence from a diverse range of health and human service settings suggests that systematically measuring the end-user's experience contributes to both the evaluation and the improvement of service delivery, as well as an aid to the initial selection of a service provider … It has been proposed that such data can improve the quality of a service either through a ‘change’ pathway (whereby providers initiate quality improvement in response to feedback) or through a ‘selection’ pathway (whereby end-users choose a high-quality service) … This latter pathway is consistent with one of the early promises of the marketisation of public services, which, at least in theory, placed importance on consumers being able to drive a system that was more tailored, more personalised, and more flexible via the ‘invisible hand’ of market forces.[8]

4.5During its European delegation, the Committee discussed the client councils which form part of the Netherland’s Institute for Employee Benefits Schemes. The key role of the councils is to inform and advise government on policies and practices that impact service quality and to advocate for the collective interests of clients. Eleven district councils focus on practice and implementation, while one central council focuses on policy. The councils’ members are clients of employment services or have a relationship with the employment services system. Client councils also exist in other areas of the Dutch human services system such as aged care. Collaboration with the client councils is enforced by law and involves engagement on issues of organisation and strategic management of the services.[9]

4.6The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR) acknowledged that mechanisms to obtain feedback from services users was an area that needs to be progressed further for Workforce Australia.[10]

Assist individuals to build economic and social capabilities

4.7Some stakeholders—especially providers—emphasised that employment services exist primarily to help people into jobs.[11] Others indicated that the system should have broader objectives, including promoting conditions which allow participants to reach their potential and to live with dignity and purpose. Such objectives would support employment outcomes (including selfemployment and nonstandard work) but would equally support goals relating to quality of life and social and economic participation for individuals and their families.[12] Professor Borland summarised this view as follows:

A further consequence of thinking of jobseekers as moving along a pathway is that there can be other meaningful ‘outputs’ from an employment services system than a jobseeker getting a job.[13]

4.8During its delegation to Europe, the Committee heard that several countries have been grappling with the appropriate balance between moving people into work as quickly as possible and obtaining high-quality, sustainable jobs for clients. Often, the approach taken will depend on the individual and the cohort. The Committee heard that in the Netherlands, for example, programs for skilled refugees often focus on enabling the client to learn Dutch and to acquire key skills before searching for work.

Recognising individuals’ capacity and goals

4.9Several stakeholders supported refocusing employment services towards supporting jobseekers into work that aligns with their aspirations, abilities, skills, and interests, and which enables personal agency. Wanting to work in jobs that were fulfilling and aligned to their capacity was a constant theme in evidence from jobseekers,[14] and was reflected in evidence from providers and advocacy groups.[15] The Committee heard that failing to take a holistic view of career progression and ignoring existing skills, experiences, and aspirations leads to people ending up in lower-quality jobs.[16]

4.10Support for clients must balance aspirational and practical goals. In this respect, the Brotherhood of St Laurence (BSL) stated that giving jobseekers more agency does not mean that choices should be wholly unconstrained, nor that jobseekers should not be held to account for their actions.[17]

4.11Multicultural Australia argued that early conversations with jobseekers should include identifying opportunities based on current skills and experience; exploring the role of paid work in providing experience and building capabilities for future roles; training and development opportunities; and the role of networks and mentoring.[18]

Improving individuals’ prospects for suitable, sustainable employment

4.12The Committee heard that improving jobseekers’ employability and moving them along a pathway to employment is just as important as securing a placement.[19]

4.13DEWR indicated that employment services should help clients build employability skills, and that investment in employability skills and training is important to ensure people can access and maintain secure work.[20] Other stakeholders noted that training for jobseekers should seek to equip them with skills for in-demand roles.[21]

4.14There was recognition that some jobseekers (for example, long-term unemployed (LTU) people and those returning to the workforce) will initially have limited capacity and need pre-employment or pre-vocational support before they will be successful in their job search. Services should initially focus on strengthening motivation and resilience and building skills (including core and digital literacy skills).[22] The system should also support those individuals to make a contribution to society in a way that is appropriate to their needs and goals. Professor Lelia Green et al stated:

The role and purpose of a national employment service should be to meet people as they are, in their everyday lives, and support them in developing and using their own capacity to make a contribution – not necessarily paid – to society, culture, the arts and the economy.[23]

4.15Some stakeholders also asserted that employment services should enable career progression—in particular for employees in unskilled or low-paid ‘survival’ jobs.[24] Anglicare WA observed that many people on income support move into entry-level, part-time or casual work that may entrench disadvantage.[25] Per Capita similarly noted that the system should assume that many clients exist on a combination of income support and paid work while making progress to more sustainable employment.[26]

Supporting the wellbeing of participants

4.16Another consistent theme was that the employment services system should focus on supporting the broader wellbeing of the jobseeker. Stakeholders highlighted the impact that social barriers can have on work readiness and the need for the system to ensure unemployed people maintain social connections.[27] Professor Green etal noted that people who feel they are making a valued contribution to society are more likely to be socially connected and have positive mental health.[28]

4.17Some providers argued that supports for very-LTU people (unemployed for two years or more) should be redesigned to promote wellbeing and social inclusion.[29] This should include the development of pathways that enable access to other human services and recognise the value of community engagement.[30]

Assist businesses and industries to meet their workforce needs

4.18Stakeholders emphasised that the objectives for employment services must focus on employers as well as on jobseekers. Businesses and industry should be seen as partners who are supported through a relational, collaborative approach which meets their short- and long-term workforce needs.[31]

4.19Dr Ann Nevile noted that other member countries of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) believe that the most important function of a public employment service is job brokering and filling vacancies. Some OECD countries are also looking to enhance their services for employers via a combination of online and face-to-face channels.[32] During its European delegation, the Committee heard that in France, the public employment service supports employers by certifying that vacancies comply with labour laws and works with employers to identify issues which may be limiting their ability to fill vacancies.

4.20Stakeholders also emphasised that businesses require support to find candidates with skills, experience, and knowledge which match to vacancies.[33] The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) asserted that employment services need to support a greater range of employers and should take a more proactive approach to filling vacancies.[34] NESA similarly noted that the system needs to actively engage with employers to facilitate solutions that address local needs.[35]

4.21The evidence pointed to a range of fundamental changes that must be implemented to ensure that employers engage with employment services. Changes to improve services for employers are discussed in Chapters 5 and 12.

Identifying workforce, skills, and training needs

4.22A critical first step in aligning the employment services system with employers’ needs is understanding skills gaps and current and future demand. It was suggested that the Australian Government should play a role in analysing the needs of employers, and creating solutions within the employment services system that generate skills and attributes that are valued by employers.[36]

4.23Stakeholders also asserted that there would be value in defining and delivering the skills required for specific sectors—including new and emerging industries—and enabling partnerships between providers, employers, and industry to identify and respond to skills gaps and ensure a ‘pipeline’ of workers with in-demand skills.[37]

4.24Being able to identify skill and labour needs for various roles also links to the notion of assisting jobseekers to find suitable, sustainable work. Industries and occupations where there will be demand for skills in the future are more likely to offer ongoing employment.[38] Identification of skill and labour needs also helps to ensure jobseekers are matched with positions that align with skills, qualifications, and career goals.[39]

4.25Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) highlighted ongoing work to categorise occupations according to skills shortages, and to understand and address the key reasons for those shortages. JSA also noted that they have been undertaking work on how to estimate the efficiency of the labour market in matching people to jobs, on the basis that labour markets function most effectively when people are matched to jobs that suit their individual preferences and characteristics and meet employers’ needs for productivity and output.[40]

4.26Other countries are also undertaking work mapping skills to support job mobility. For example, during its European delegation the Committee heard that the Netherlands is developing a skills taxonomy with a focus on inter-sectoral mobility. This initiative seeks to match skills and competencies to possible career pathways and has a focus on skillsets rather than qualifications and work experience. Once identified, skills are documented to create a Skills Passport that is a combination of a traditional resume and skills outline. The public employment service is a partner on the initiative.

4.27Numerous stakeholders observed that the current system does not effectively adapt to regional and local labour market conditions and needs, asserting that a reformed system should include a much greater sense of place with services driven by regional needs and supply and demand aligned at the regional and local levels.[41] Issues to be addressed in this regard include ‘thin markets’, coverage of larger geographies, the lack of infrastructure and services (including employment services), and limited job opportunities. Jobseekers in regional and remote areas may also have lower levels of literacy, numeracy, and digital competency, and be at higher risk of disengagement from work or training.[42]

4.28There was also support for place-based solutions as a means of addressing the discrete needs and challenges of local labour markets, as well as coordinating employment pathways for local jobseekers.[43] The National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA) asserted that place-based approaches are key to building relationships between government and First Nations communities and enabling employment outcomes for First Nations jobseekers.[44]

4.29A key example of where employment services might respond to workforce and skills needs is the transition to clean energy and green economy.[45] JSA are undertaking work to analysis jobs that will be in demand with the transition to clean energy, disaggregated by region.[46] The OECD has advised that employment services are uniquely positioned to support jobseekers in securing employment in the green economy. Employment services can facilitate access to training and education to meet the demand for green skills, assist those at risk of displacement to maximise their chances of reemployment, and facilitate matching of workers to businesses that require these skills.[47] The Committee heard of a number policies being implemented by OECD countries to build jobseekers’ skills to meet demand in the clean energy sector.

Increasing productivity

4.30Several stakeholders asserted that employment services should increase workforce productivity and contribute to economic growth.[48] This was echoed in evidence from some providers, who stated that they wanted to contribute to building a labour force that meets the nation’s skills needs.[49]

4.31Some stakeholders also indicated that the continuing work first focus of the system is contrary to a goal of increasing productivity. For example, Social Ventures Australia (SVA) noted the importance of giving younger people the opportunity to grow and deploy their skills in quality work as part of a longer-term strategy to address skill and labour shortages.[50] During its European delegation, the Committee discussed the approach taken Danish public employment service, which has explicit objectives relating to up-skilling unemployed people and ensuring businesses have qualified labour. Activation policy in Denmark also focuses on educational attainment for unemployed people aged under 30, with the notion that this will help make the best use of people’s potential in the labour market.

4.32The Productivity Commission advised that matching skills and jobs is critical to a productive labour market, also noting that productivity growth can be enhanced by supporting adults to upskill, and reskill.[51] DEWR similarly emphasised that investment in training and education for participants in employment services—from foundational skills to higher education—is required if the system is to address skill mismatches.[52]

Reducing inequity and disadvantage

4.33Being unemployed, underemployed, or disconnected from the labour market comes with a range of personal and social costs to the individual and represents a loss to the community and the economy. For the vast majority of people, unemployment is not a choice, and many people face structural barriers to work. Addressing barriers to social and economic participation contributes to a stronger, more inclusive economy.

4.34Part of reducing inequity is encouraging workforce participation by those who are under-represented in the labour market. Employment services have a key role to play in this effort, including lifting workforce participation and helping to improve employment opportunities for people at disproportionate risk of unemployment and underemployment.[53] Some stakeholders raised concern as to current eligibility for employment services, calling for broader access for cohorts who may have the capacity to benefit.[54] More detail in relation to eligibility for services is included in Chapter 5. However, examples of cohorts that may benefit include those who are underemployed, those who are in low-income or insecure work, and those who are most at risk during industry transitions.

4.35Another part of reducing inequity is the role employment services play in working with businesses to adapt recruitment and work practices to the needs of disadvantaged jobseekers and enable safe, inclusive, and sustainable jobs.[55]

4.36Working with employers in this fashion was described as ‘activation’ of employers. The Committee heard that a first step in this process is finding employers who are willing to build pathways for disadvantaged cohorts and who see operational or social value in helping people with barriers to employment.[56]

4.37Very strong evidence was received via site visits and the Committee’s European delegation as to the need to work with employers in this way—especially as regards adapting workplaces and practices and providing post-placement support to people with disability, First Nations peoples, younger people in disadvantage, and people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds. Many employers and advocates reported that financial incentives are often less important than wrap-around support for businesses employing LTU people, also noting that very few LTU people transition straight to full time work. Instead, this cohort often requires more graduated transitions and flexibility in workplace and job design.

4.38Recruitment and HR support, particularly for small and medium enterprises (SMEs), is explored in further detail in Chapter 12.

A national, coordinated employment service system

4.39As identified in Chapter 2, the employment services system and broader social and human service ecosystem are fragmented. Evidence before the Committee indicated that addressing this concern requires establishing a single national employment services system, with better coordination and integration of Commonwealth programs, State and Territory Government services, and local actors. For example:

  • NESA stated that an integrated service model provides the strongest basis on which to ensure the effectiveness of employment services, and to maximise the impact of services and return on investment.[57]
  • BSL asserted that a single system would be easier to navigate for jobseekers and employers and would reduce duplication effort and administrative costs.[58]
  • SVA noted that a ‘more coherent approach’ would help address service gaps in the current system and improve consistency across existing programs.[59]
  • The Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) supported a simplified system—flexible enough to meet diverse needs—to ensure resources were distributed equitably according to need and allow for build in or scaling up of supports as new requirements are identified.[60]
    1. Stakeholders also encouraged the integration of state, territory and local programs, including through the creation of a national register, as well as building a diverse network of providers to support clients in their pathway to employment.[61] Professor Borland observed that there are an increasing number of programs in the not-for-profit sector focused on building skills and addressing vocational and non-vocational barriers to employment, stating that integration of such programs could help improve the culture of employment services.[62] Navitas asserted that the employment services system should acknowledge and ensure clients can be referred to external programs, but indicated that such programs should not form part of Workforce Australia.[63]
    2. The Centre for Policy Development (CPD) told the Committee that collaboration will be key to a reformed employment services system, stating that employment services function most effectively when there are genuine partnerships between community leaders, employers, training providers, service providers, and government officials.[64]

Administration under one portfolio

4.42There are multiple government agencies responsible for the various programs within Australia’s employment services system. These include DEWR, the Department of Social Services (DSS), and the NIAA—in addition to various agencies which deliver complementary programs under several portfolios.

4.43A common theme in evidence was that artificial silos exist between employment services for people with disability, people in remote communities, and people who are in mainstream employment services, as well as between skills and employment programs. In addition, contracts are invariably complex to administer and require significant government investment. Stakeholders asserted that there would be value in consolidating the administration of employment services within one department to improve policy and program design, governance, and evaluation.[65]

4.44The Victorian Government recommended consolidating employment services under one portfolio, noting that to do so would result in less duplication, greater impact, and a system which is easier to navigate.[66]

4.45The BSL also recognised the importance of a whole-of-government approach for programs to address pre-vocational or specialist needs and expressed support for more effective cross-portfolio governance and programs administered by a single portfolio.[67] The BSL also indicated that, over time, there may be value in consolidating pre-vocational and employment services under a single department.[68]

4.46This was not a universally held view. The Settlement Council of Australia (SCoA) noted that a 2019 review of services for refugees and humanitarian entrants concluded that employment services are not equipped to support these cohorts.[69] The 2019 review proposed that oversight of all programs designed to support refugees and migrants should be within a single government agency and supported a targeted program of labour market integration—or settlement hub—incorporating settlement support, English language learning, and employment services for refugees and migrants.[70] The Department of Home Affairs noted in this respect that their responsibilities for migrants and humanitarians entrants begin before arrival in Australia, also stating that they work closely with DEWR.[71]

4.47There was also conflicting evidence in relation to the administration of DES, with some stakeholders noting during in site visits and related discussions that DSS should retain full or partial responsibility for that program. It was put to the Committee that either DSS should be responsible for policy relating to employment services for people with disability while the program itself should be delivered by DEWR, or that DSS should retain administration of the Employment Support Services (DESESS) while DEWR should gain administration of the Disability Management Services (DESDMS). DSS confirmed that the key different between DES-DMS and DES-ESS is the degree of ongoing support in the workplace to keep a job.[72]

4.48There was little evidence as to whether the NIAA was best placed to administer the Community Development Program (CDP) or its replacement, with the NIAA stating that it works to influence First Nations policy across government. The CDP targets all citizens in remote areas of Australia, but the majority of participants are First Nations peoples.[73] During site visits, it was emphasised that CDP and Workforce Australia both must meet the needs of First Nations jobseekers and contribute towards Closing the Gap targets. There was also some tension in relation to the boundaries between the two programs. This is explored in further detail in Chapter 9.

Coordination across all levels of government

4.49As identified in Chapter 3, there are a range of employment programs funded at the state, territory and local government level that operate in parallel to and complement the Commonwealth services. Stakeholders emphasised that there is a need to improve coordination between jurisdictions and to better integrate other government and local programs into a coherent national model, noting that these programs have historically operated outside the ‘official’ employment services system.[74]

4.50Most state and territory employment service programs aim to enhance skills development and labour supply for business.[75] Local governments are also taking action to change local business practices and commonly have employment goals in their action plans.[76] As outlined in Chapter 3, state governments also noted that their services are a response to perceived gaps or failures in the Commonwealth system that perpetuate entrenched disadvantage and workforce shortages.[77] This evidence was reflected during site visits and through direct engagement with state government departments, with stakeholders also noting that state programs respond directly to labour market variations, geographic isolation, and seasonal employment patterns.

4.51DEWR noted that interactions between jurisdictions take a range of forms, including engagement enabled by the Local Jobs Program (Local Jobs and Skills Taskforces and Employment Facilitators), meetings between DEWR and its Commonwealth and state or territory counterparts, and informal relationships, networks and on-the-ground engagement.[78] Stakeholders highlighted that formal arrangements for engagement can be beneficial as they set political expectations and support better alignment of programs, including funding, service design, evaluation strategies, and sharing of research and best practices.[79]

4.52NESA asserted that there is a strong role for the Commonwealth to facilitate a shared understanding of the role, functions, and benefits of employment services, as well as to support connections with state and territory governments with a view to improving integration across programs and services. NESA stated that this approach enables complementary design of initiatives and avoid unnecessary duplication.[80]

4.53The BSL stated that one option to strengthen arrangements between different levels of government is negotiation of a National Agreement to specify responsibilities for service delivery within the employment services system. The BSL also expressed support for a series of bilateral agreements for implementation of and co-investment in place-based approaches that align with Commonwealth programs.[81]

4.54In discussions with state and territory government departments, the Committee noted general support for intergovernmental collaboration to achieve mutual goals. This was supported by formal evidence. For example, the Western Australian Department of Training and Workforce Development (DTWD) stated:

We think it's vitally important that Commonwealth employment services do work collaboratively with state services, and we'd like to see that really embedded and baked into the design of services going forward.[82]

4.55The Tasmanian Government similarly observed that a more connected employment service system—if formalised and subject to robust governance arrangements—will minimise cost-shifting between governments, enable providers to leverage shared networks and resources, and enable more holistic, wrap-around supports.[83]

4.56The Committee also heard that a truly national system would enable better market insights and the gathering of intelligence on the types of supports needed in specific areas and for specific cohorts—preventing duplication of effort.[84] NESA welcomed the formal establishment of JSA in this regard, noting that JSA will be able to provide independent labour market advice to catalyse coordinated action.[85]

Consolidation of existing programs

4.57A common theme in evidence was that while pathways to employment can be similar for a range of cohorts, individuals will be at different points on their journey and will need supports of varying intensity, with support needs mediated by various factors such as personal characteristics, age, experience, and reasons for unemployment.[86]

4.58Several stakeholders indicated that jobseekers and employers would be better served by a system that consolidates Workforce Australia, DES, and CDP (or any service which replaces CDP).[87] This was consistent with views expressed by NESA and Per Capita, who told the Committee that the caseload must be re-aggregated if the system is to effectively support employers and industry, and that services within a national system must be clear, cohesive, and complementary.[88]

4.59Workskil Australia (Workskil) observed that the service offered in DES are essentially the same as those offered in Workforce Australia Services.[89] DSS agreed that the programs share several key features and are broadly consistent in their approach to preparing individuals for work. Nevertheless, DSS asserted that it is appropriate to have a service targeted to people with disability.[90]

4.60Regional Development Australia (RDA) Kimberley observed that in some regions the design of CDP aligns with the support needs of people in Workforce Australia.[91] The NIAA noted that it is important that there is at least some alignment between the two programs.[92]

4.61Other stakeholders supported consolidating services targeted to employers, noting that employers see a clear need for a one-stop shop for recruitment and workforce development needs.[93]

4.62The Committee also heard that there are multiple programs which support self-employment, for entrepreneurs, and for small businesses. These are administered by several Commonwealth agencies and include Self-Employment Assistance (SEA) under Workforce Australia,[94] targeted programs to assist small SMEs administered by Treasury,[95] and small business advice delivered through the Department of Industry, Science and Resources’ AusIndustry programs.[96]

4.63Stakeholders also identified other program areas that would benefit from improved coordination or consolidation, noting that:

  • preapprenticeship, apprenticeships and traineeships should be better integrated, as the various providers (employment service providers, Apprenticeship Support Network providers, Group Training Organisations (GTOs), Registered Training Organisations (RTOs) and TAFEs) are competing to engage with young people and employers. Communication must be more consistent in terms of presenting apprenticeships as an option for jobseekers and giving employers information about supports;[97]
  • there should be better connections between providers of employment assistance, providers of foundation skills (for example, the Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP)), and settlement services to improve outcomes for participants;[98] and
  • effective services for current and former members of the Defence Force can be enabled by collaboration. The Department of Veterans’ Affairs are currently working with DEWR to implement capacity-building activities with employment service providers.[99]

Access to career advice

4.64Stakeholders asserted that access to career advice can be critical to job search efforts and career progression. NESA asserted that employment services should:

…[i]ncrease participants’ likelihood of employment by guiding, encouraging, and supporting meaningful and effective job search efforts.[100]

4.65The Career Development Association Australia (CDAA) and Australian Centre for Career Education (ACCE) noted the benefits of career development interventions can have in improving employment outcomes.[101]

4.66The Committee heard that access to career advice is less than ideal, with many Commonwealth-funded career guidance programs ‘patchy and under-resourced’.[102] The Productivity Commission’s review of the former National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development confirmed this view, finding that career guidance can be difficult to access outside of the employment and education systems.[103]

4.67The Productivity Commission also identified overlap between programs administered at the Commonwealth, state, and local levels which offer career advice—notably the Skills Checkpoint for Older Workers and Employability Skills Training (EST). The Productivity Commission recommended the evaluation of existing approaches with a view to greater consolidation.[104]

4.68The Committee heard that the quality of advice which jobseekers receive from their providers (which should be one of a provider’s core services) was variable, with many individuals receiving poor quality advice or no advice at all.[105] The AUWU stated that participants want to receive expert career and job search advice.[106]

4.69Career guidance and support is considered in more detail in Chapters 5 and 11.

Access to education and training

4.70Several stakeholders asserted that better integration and coordination across the employment services and vocational education and training (VET) sectors is critical, noting that VET is primarily administered at the state and territory level. Stakeholders indicated that a ‘joined-up’ approach would mean better information flows, alignment of services, simpler funding arrangements, and better employment outcomes.[107]

4.71Stakeholders also asserted that a suite of accredited and non-accredited training should be available to jobseekers, supported by effective referral pathways.[108] Associate Professor Jo Ingold and Mr Tony Carr (Dr Ingold and Mr Carr) observed that there may be scope to enable a full pathway from pre-employment and training to work placement and further career development.[109]

4.72In discussions during site visits and the delegation to Europe, the Committee heard that work experience and internships play a significant role in the pathway to further education and training. The Netherlands in particular placed a high value on paid work experience, with evaluations indicating that employment which follows from such placements more secure than employment on the open market.

4.73The role of Active Labour Market Programs (ALMPs), including training and paid work placements, is explored in Chapter 13.

Wrap-around support for those with non-vocational barriers

4.74A range of stakeholders expressed support for embedding employment services in the human services ecosystem, and for measures to build jobseekers’ capacity over time rather than moving them into employment and off income support as quickly as possible. The Committee heard that this must involve connections with other human services such as health, mental health, and housing—including on a short-term basis to assist with immediate needs.[110]

4.75During site visits, the Committee heard from several providers that clients frequently need to access human services that offer intensive assistance to find employment and to access services that primarily focus on addressing non-vocational barriers.Providers also told the Committee that it was common for individuals to present at their sites needing immediate support to address issues such as housing insecurity and family violence.

4.76Stakeholders highlighted key benefits that flow from better integration of wrap-around supports. WISE Employment stated that partnerships between human services and employment services could enable better use of often very limited resources to help disadvantaged cohorts.[111] yourtown provided the specific example of mental health specialists embedded within employment service providers.[112] An alternative put forward by the Western Australia Association for Mental Health (WAAMH) was embedding vocational specialists in other human services.[113]

4.77Wrap-around support services are explored in more detail in Chapter 5.

A stronger role for Government

4.78Government currently plays a limited, very passive role in the employment services system, and there has been significant loss of capacity in the public service in terms of delivering services and understanding frontline service delivery issues.

4.79Stakeholders noted a loss of professional expertise within DEWR, with DEWR staff increasingly focused on contract management.[114] Dr Michael McGann stated:

[W]e simply don't know what a good service model actually looks like in a lot of cases because we've been out of the game for so long.[115]

4.80Several stakeholders characterised DEWR as a purchaser that stands at a distance from suppliers, and raised concerns that this leads to a loss of crucial expertise and understanding of the operation of the employment services system.[116] MAX Solutions (MAX) asserted that given the length of time spent away from direct service provision (at least for jobseekers who are further from the labour market), the Australian Public Service (APS) is likely unaware of the practical and operational challenges of service delivery.[117] This concern was reflected in international research conducted in 2015, which found that the contracting out of employment services creates challenges in terms of government’s ability to hold system actors accountable.[118]

4.81Later international research indicated that other jurisdictions have rolled back levels of outsourcing and marketization in favour of greater government involvement in the system. For example, high demands for public regulation of tendering processes and monitoring of services were cited as key reasons for rolling back marketization in the Netherlands. The Dutch model can now be characterised as a hybrid: public employment services have been re-established, with private providers still authorised to deliver supports.[119]

4.82The BSL, CPD and University of Melbourne (UniMelb) observed that a significant uplift in public sector capability will be required to deliver on government’s enhanced role as co-producer of services (discussed further below) and to ensure government has the capacity to coordinate policy, services, and funding across the public and private sectors, to create and support new governance arrangements, and to curate a capable, responsive, and diverse network of providers.[120]

4.83The Productivity Commission’s 2017 inquiry into competition and user choice in human services made similar findings, stating that there are ‘sound efficiency and equity reasons for government involvement in human services’. This is particularly the case where the service generates benefits beyond those which accrue to the service user.[121] For employment services, these may include an overall uplift in rates of employment and upskilling the Australian workforce to respond to future challenges and opportunities.

4.84A 2015 Capability Review of the (then) Department of Employment highlighted a strong ‘can-do’ attitude among staff with a focus on program delivery. However, the review also found that the department had a tendency to operate in established patterns and paradigms, leading to a culture of following ‘default’ behaviours and adopting iterative policy solutions rather than examining issues from first principles.[122] No evidence was provided to suggest that this conclusion did not remain accurate in the present day.

Active stewardship

4.85Stakeholders emphasised that the Australian Government must take a more active role in the system as an active steward or custodian, rather than continuing current ‘set and forget’ arrangements.[123] The Committee heard that a key part of active stewardship at the national level is facilitating better connections between the Commonwealth, States, Territories, and local governments, with stakeholders noting that this would help create an enabling environment for integration of programs across jurisdictions, leveraging collective resources, and supporting the development and implementation of place-based responses.[124]

4.86Several providers supported the Australian Government adopting a stewardship role. IntoWork Australia (IntoWork) told the Committee that a more transparent, proactive approach by DEWR would help providers to work collectively with government to improve performance.[125] The BUSY Group (BUSY) observed that engagement with DEWR should focus on service improvement, innovation, and place-based support.[126]

4.87The Committee also heard that active stewardship involves government signalling and driving a culture of collaboration, innovation, experimentation, and improvement through an ambitious research, development, and evaluation agenda.[127]

4.88The Treasury’s 2015 review of competition policy (Harper Review) identified that true stewardship means that government has full responsibility for overseeing the impact of policies on users and providers. This includes co-designing services, fostering a range of service models that meet the needs of users and the community, stimulating innovation and cultural change, and encouraging a diversity of providers.[128]

4.89A core principle for reforming employment services in the White Paper: Working Futures was strong public stewardship.[129] In beginning to implement this principle, government announced changes to the Local Jobs Program to better align it with community need and enhance employment outcomes. Other measures include the deployment of public servants in three regions in WA: Broome, Geraldton, and Kalgoorlie.[130] This follows the 2023–24 Budget decision to provide additional APS support for the delivery of employment services in Broome.[131]

4.90DEWR explained that it will trial a new approach to employment services in Broome, involving APS personnel working alongside a new First Nations provider. The APS personnel will engage and advocate locally to improve coordination across the landscape of programs and services; help establish more streamlined pathways for people to address barriers to employment; and support the First Nations provider to build capacity and capability.[132]

4.91During its European delegation, the Committee heard that Australia’s approach to the administration of employment services has been an outlier among OECD countries for the last two decades. International examples indicated that stronger relationships between government, providers and other stakeholders are eminently possible within public employment services and can be crucial to the success of the employment services system.

A model for government stewardship and service delivery

4.92Stakeholders made a range of proposals for the role of government in the delivery of employment services. There was broad agreement that online assistance should remain the remit of government.[133] However, stakeholders took various positions on public versus private delivery of other services for jobseekers and employers.

4.93Jobs Australia and NESA both supported an outsourced model for the delivery of services, backed by government support, claiming that this model enables greater flexibility and deeper engagement with local communities (assuming appropriate policy settings).[134] BUSY submitted that outsourcing allows government to focus on ensuring the system achieves its objectives without being distracted by service delivery.[135]

4.94By contrast, other stakeholders called for a model wherein government is entirely responsible for the delivery of employment services and asserted that delivery of services by government raises quality and ensures public investment returns value to the community.[136]

4.95Stakeholders also put forward a model where government ‘co-produces’ employment services in partnership with organisations in the community and private sectors,[137] as well as a model where government is one of a number of providers.[138]

4.96Professor Mark Considine observed that a quasi-market approach to employment services has the potential for positive outcomes if the role of government is clearly defined and effectively performed. The role of government in this regard includes ensuring a culture of collaboration and sharing of best practice and insights within the employment services system.[139] Analysis by the OECD similarly indicated that while a quasi-market system has potential benefits, these benefits will depend on whether the system is appropriately designed and implemented. There are also inherent and significant transaction and overhead costs to consider.[140] In essence, competition is not an end in itself.

4.97Professor Gaby Ramia told the Committee that a model in which the Commonwealth is one of a number of providers would allow government to understand how services operate and how they are perceived by jobseekers. Under such a model, government could also act as a model service provider—setting the standard for best practice.[141] However, other stakeholders expressed concern that public providers would be just as likely as contracted providers to engage in inappropriate behaviours such as ‘creaming’ and ‘parking’ jobseekers if current policy settings are not adjusted.[142]

4.98The need for greater public delivery of employment services in at least some areas was reflected in relevant academic research. For example, Dr Bob Davidson argued that a public provider can be a ‘powerful and unique policy instrument’ at a systemic level in sectors that provide an essential good or service but which have substantial intrinsic market failure. Theneed for a public provider is especially strong where government is a significant source of purchasing power for a good or service. This is the case within the employment services system. Dr Davidson stated:

Public providers are not perfect, but they have an important role to play, at both an individual and a systemic level, in human service markets. Governments have a range of other instruments with which to address the problems of human service markets, but too often these instruments are limited in their impact, costly and even counterproductive. The revitalisation of public providers is thus an important element in building future social infrastructure. They should not be the only or a privileged player in a market, but they should be used as an essential policy instrument to ensure a basic level of services for all and to assist the broader service systems and markets to work better.[143]

4.99Dr Davidson emphasised that this is not some utopian view of public providers, nor a proposal for a public monopoly. Rather, it is a contemporary twenty-first century view that absorbs the lessons and failures of both the welfare state and neoliberalism and builds on the strengths and limits of markets and the state.[144]

4.100In describing a co-producer model, the BSL asserted that government should take joint responsibility for the delivery of services and assume financial and performance risks, stating that this would leave local and community-based organisations free to deliver a suite of tailored supports.[145]

4.101The BSL, CPD and UniMelb iterated and built on this proposal. They put forward a model (Figure 4.1) under which a government agency such as DEWR would be responsible for funding and stewarding the system, with a new entity—Employment Services Australia (ESA)—created within DEWR to manage contracts and deliver services to job ready participants who selfmanage as part of a hybrid, digital-first service. DEWR would also be responsible for facilitating vertical alignment between Commonwealth, State and Territory Governments and local policy and programs. Service delivery would be supplemented by oversight by a new regulatory entity: the Employment Services Quality Commission.[146] This entity is discussed in more detail in Chapter 7, in the context regulatory arrangements for employment services.

Figure 4.1: Proposed employment services government delivery

Source:BSL, CPD, and UniMelb, Submission 256.1, p. 5.

4.102In the proposal outlined in Figure 4.1, ESA would also oversee regional hubs which would operate as a gateway to services and be responsible for mapping the local service system, coordinating training, and engaging with employers. This service would be responsible for client assessment and referrals as detailed in Chapter 9. Regional hubs or gateways would have an enduring physical presence in the local community and be able to refer jobseekers to a range of services, including local employment services providers, health and wellbeing supports and training. Hubs would also facilitate direct connections to employers, including delivering a brokerage service to match jobseekers to vacancies. Hubs would not be restricted to supporting jobseekers on income support but would also be able to support jobseekers on a ‘walk in’ basis.[147] Regional hub or gateway-type models were contemplated by the BSL’s 2017 submission to the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into choice and contestability in human services:

[T]he commissioning of truly responsive, locally tailored services will require government to devolve some decision-making power to agencies that, because they are ‘on the ground’, are better placed both to fund small-scale local initiatives and to adapt other programs to local conditions or even individual circumstances. Some degree of devolution could also streamline stewardship of the community sector by allowing the department to delegate procurement and day-to-day management to an agency able to build a closer, collaborative relationship with individual providers.[148]

4.103Dr Nevile envisaged the creation of entities similar to regional hubs in a reformed employment system—albeit referring to them as ‘Departmental Regional Offices’. According to DrNevile, the overarching responsibility of these regional offices would be to develop and maintain productive working relationships with providers and employers in the region, including by:

  • developing a good understanding of the needs of major employers in the region;
  • using this knowledge to assist local providers to develop effective strategies to engage with employers;
  • using their knowledge of local providers to connect employers directly to agencies which are best-placed to meet their needs;
  • using their knowledge of local providers across a range of programs to facilitate collaborative working arrangements; and
  • developing and maintaining a repository of good practice and lessons learned to be accessed by all service providers—including in the local area and across Australia.[149]
    1. Dr Nevile’s proposal for the functions of regional offices were informed by the employment services system in Austria. In that jurisdiction, the Public Employment Service operates as an autonomous body and is supported by nine regional and more than 100 local offices which deliver services in local areas. Offices are subject to routine performance assessments to support ongoing quality improvement. Lessons and examples of best practice are also shared across the system.[150] The Committee’s discussions with representatives of Austria during its European delegation highlighted key elements of the Austrian system, including the focus on collaboration, learning, and local approaches to service delivery.
    2. The Committee heard that the French public employment service takes a similar ‘performance through trust’ approach, with each Pôle emploi office having its own performance objectives and KPIs. Individual offices are given freedom to design and deliver interventions adapted to the local labour market. The Committee also heard that ongoing reforms to the French employment services will include mapping local service ecosystems with a view to ensuring the employment service is able to coordinate supports for jobseekers and employers.

Social procurement

4.106Several stakeholders informed the Committee there would be merit in government leveraging tender and procurement processes to enhance employment outcomes for jobseekers, stating that this may be an effective way to enable employment for disadvantaged cohorts and respond to an increasing lack of entry-level jobs.[151]

4.107Stakeholders also suggested leveraging and expanding on existing procurement policies and implementing targeted quotas.[152] Dr Ingold and Mr Carr emphasised that any targets or quotas must be supplemented with initiatives to drive systemic change to enhance recruitment, retention, and career progression.[153]

4.108The Victorian Government drew attention to its own Social Procurement Framework, noting that the framework governs procurement of goods, services, and construction. The Victorian Government noted that the framework has driven strong demand for suppliers to government to employ people facing disadvantage, and highlighted key elements of the framework which are key to driving this demand, including:

  • flexibility to prioritise different social objectives suited to the project, taking into account matters such as geographic location, social issues, demographics, and workforce challenges specific to the relevant industry;
  • recognition of the support delivered by Work Integrated Social Enterprises (WISEs), with social enterprises prioritised as suppliers to government;
  • application of social procurement as a weighted evaluation criterion in tenders;
  • setting targets during tender processes; and
  • robust oversight and assurance processes.[154]
    1. The Committee discussed the NSW Government’s approach to social procurement during site visits. The NSW Government highlighted the Infrastructure Skills Legacy Program, which seeks to address skills shortages and build diversity within the construction industry through training and diversity target for infrastructure projects.
    2. Social Traders stated that the Indigenous Procurement Policy is a key example of how social procurement can be done at Commonwealth level, noting that the policy has generated over $6.9 billion in opportunities for First Nations businesses since it was implemented in 2015.[155]
    3. NESA stated there must be more integration and coordination in social procurement initiatives across government, noting that such initiatives have proven effective in delivering quality employment outcomes. NESA also noted that poor coordination can mean that there is insufficient time to align skills development with project timelines, leading to employer dissatisfaction and negative impacts on jobseekers.[156]
    4. Per Capita emphasised that social procurement initiatives as a means of job creation must be better regulated, noting that the commercial enterprises which enact social procurement clauses and individuals who claim the benefits of social procurement are often poorly documented.[157]

Government job creation

4.113Some stakeholders indicated that government should require public sector agencies to hire from the employment services caseload.[158] SVA noted in this regard that the public service has an ‘enormous capacity’ to equip people with the skills needed for current and future work—for example through the creation of additional entry-level and traineeship roles. The public sector could also function as an ‘anchor’ for the broader traineeship sector and enable the development of new training pathways.[159]

4.114AMES Australia (AMES) observed that in the past (in a very different socioeconomic environment) large government entities created entry-level positions and employed people from diverse backgrounds, often with limited skills and experience. AMES stated that these entry-level jobs offered an opportunity to gain experience in the workplace, but also offered pathways to higher-level positions or to further training.[160]

4.115The NIAA identified a need to ‘re-broker’ roles back into communities, noting that in trials relating to the CDP providers have started to identify community-based roles and to link jobseekers to them, supported by a wage subsidies or other mechanisms. The NIAA noted that such a ‘re-brokering’ effort would likely involve some disruption to service delivery which must be factored into applicable strategies.[161] The Coalition of Peaks similarly observed that there is little skills transfer into remote First Nations communities and called for this to be addressed, noting that there are examples of good practice in the early childhood sector.[162]

4.116The Committee also heard that there may be a role for employment strategies to support historically disenfranchised jobseekers. The Mindaroo Foundation Trust – Generation One (Mindaroo) called for large employers to implement First Nations employment plans, including targets and reporting requirements. Mindaroo also called on government to implement legislation similar to the Workplace Gender Equality Act 2012 to increase transparency and set meaningful targets for First Nations employment.[163]

Social enterprises and place-based approaches

4.117Stakeholders observed that social enterprises—particularly WISEs—and other non-government, philanthropically-funded programs can and should play a significant role in the employment services system.[164]

4.118The Committee heard that incorporating smaller and local initiatives and social enterprises into the employment services system will require active government support, including through fit-for-purpose policy settings, financial support, and robust evaluation and feedback mechanisms.[165] During its European delegation, the Committee heard that other countries have faced challenges connecting employment services with social initiatives, with issues often relating to funding and investment and challenges in scaling social enterprises to support a greater number and range of clients.

4.119Evidence indicated that social enterprises are effective at assisting jobseekers to obtain employment. The Victorian Government stated that investment in social and microenterprises delivers strong employment outcomes for jobseekers with complex barriers to employment.[166] Several social enterprises, charities and other community organisations also provided evidence on how they are able to secure employment for people who experience barriers.[167] This evidence was echoed in discussions during site visits. The enterprises with which the Committee engaged also raised concern that they were not being appropriately recognised—financially or otherwise—for the very significant efforts they make in securing employment for jobseekers.

4.120A similar theme was increasing the role of place-based programs within the system. Several stakeholders noted that the diversity of labour markets across Australia and the heterogeneity of both the population of unemployed people and the employment services caseload mean that place-based supports are crucial to better employment outcomes for jobseekers and to meeting employers’ needs.[168] The Committee’s delegation to Europe highlighted work being undertaken in other countries to map local services and support partnerships with local actors.

4.121Stakeholders also emphasised that government must create the conditions to enable place-based solutions, including by ensuring there is sufficient flexibility in the system to respond to changing market conditions and by empowering DEWR’s state and regional offices to support decisionmaking and codesign.[169] SYC noted that partnerships with local government can be critical to place-based solutions, stating that local governments have a strong understanding of community needs.[170]

4.122There was also support for demand-led solutions which establish partnerships with businesses and industry.[171] The Committee heard that providers are well placed to offer these services to SMEs, but there are issues with scale and the ability to meet the needs of large businesses and industries. Stakeholders observed that the Australian Government needs to foster models of collaboration or public sector co-delivery of demand-led solutions.[172] Some organisations also provided case studies on work they are undertaking to partner with businesses to assist them to hire from disadvantaged cohorts as part of their social responsibilities.[173]

4.123Workforce Australia and DES both include programs that support job creation and aim to fill identified entrylevel vacancies. DEWR reported that initial evaluations of the Local Jobs Program and Launch into Work illustrate how facilitation programs can have a positive impact for jobseekers, employers and the local community.[174] DSS told the Committee about the National Disability Recruitment Coordination Officer program, which provides demand-led support for large employers to build their confidence and capability to provide opportunities to people with disability.[175] However, many of the place-based and demand-led programs highlighted in evidence and observed during site visits were programs that operated outside of the employment services system.

4.124Issues associated with social enterprise and place-based programs are explored further in Chapters 5, 12 and 13.

Committee comment

4.125As outlined in Chapter 2, there are multiple critical issues in the design and delivery of the employment services system which are preventing it from delivering a high-quality service to jobseekers and employers. These issues cannot be addressed by minor adjustments to policies or programs, but demand wholesale reform to rebuild a very different system with a far more determined approach to tackling entrenched and unacceptably high rates of long-term unemployment.

4.126This report sets out an ambitious blueprint to rebuild employment services over the coming months and years and to design and implement a new Commonwealth Employment Services System. Serious reform takes time, and to the greatest extent possible a rebuilt system should be designed in close consultation with stakeholders including jobseekers, employers, unions, peak bodies, and all levels of governments, utilising mechanisms for ongoing stakeholder and client input alongside co-design of appropriate aspects.

4.127A genuinely national rebuilt system must include far greater integration—or vertical alignment—of state, territory, and local programs, noting that many such programs currently overlap with or duplicate Commonwealth services. Greater integration of, or at least coordination with, local programs and services will be critical to ensuring access to a full range of supports—including social enterprises, social support and allied health services, and non-government programs—that are needed to respond effectively to the diversity of jobseeker needs. A rebuilt system should also facilitate explicit collaboration and flexible and periodic co-investment by State and Territory Governments at a jurisdictional, regional, or local level. However, it should never be dependent on such investment given the Commonwealth’s responsibilities and the inevitable variations over time of State and Territory Government policy and financial commitments.

4.128Formal Commonwealth-state agreement(s) should be developed to underpin a rebuilt Commonwealth Employment Services System and to enable coordination and collaboration across all levels of government. Ideally, this would be in the form of a National Agreement adopted by National Cabinet, but if that is not achievable then bilateral agreements between the Commonwealth and other jurisdictions willing to collaborate should be pursued. A National Agreement or bilateral agreements should ensure that the Commonwealth retains control over the quality of services in which it invests, and those services in which a person may participate to receive income support. Priority should be given to leveraging and aligning co-investment by other jurisdictions to tackle longterm unemployment and place-based disadvantage as well as supporting industry transitions.

4.129Building a new Commonwealth Employment Services System should involve the Commonwealth reviewing and—where appropriate—consolidating services which are administered by different departments and agencies, with a view to reducing duplication and competition for its own sake, streamlining service delivery, and enabling easier access by jobseekers, employers, and other stakeholders.

4.130The Committee has also reached an in-principle conclusion that, over the longer term, DES should ultimately be integrated into the Commonwealth Employment Services System, acknowledging there are a number of ways in which this could occur. The Committee identified four options for Government’s future consideration with a likely preference for the third or fourth option below:

  • both policy and delivery for DES remain with DSS;
  • both policy and delivery for DES sit with DEWR;
  • DSS retains responsibility for policy and funding, with DEWR as delivery agency for DES; or
  • a combination of the above: DES-DMS policy and delivery sits with DEWR and DES-ESS remains with DSS.
    1. The Committee considers that CDP should remain separate as a standalone service administered by the NIAA, subject to recommendations elsewhere in this report to review boundaries and broadly align mutual obligations requirements.
    2. Achievement of these proposals—and generally the reforms outlined in this report—will require strong and sustained Commonwealth leadership and preferably broad cross-party Parliamentary consensus. The Committee hopes that this can be achieved, noting the non-partisan way in which this inquiry has been conducted and the fact the Committee’s conclusions align strongly with those of the previous review while tackling issues that were not then examined.
    3. As discussed below, the Commonwealth must, as a matter of urgency, move away from being an ‘arm’s length’ purchaser and contract manager and take on the role of active steward in the rebuilt employment services system including some aspects of service delivery as outlined in this report.

Recommendation 1

4.134The Committee recommends that a new Commonwealth Employment Services System be developed and implemented in line with the recommendations of this report and informed by close and ongoing consultation with experts, stakeholders, and service users. This should be underpinned by formal intergovernmental agreement(s) setting out roles and responsibilities for coordination with skills, training and related human services, service delivery, and arrangements for implementation and funding including co-investments to tackle long-term unemployment, place-based disadvantage, and industry transitions.

4.135The Australian Government has a responsibility, consistent with our international obligations, to maintain a free public employment service which promotes full, productive, freely chosen employment. Within this broad remit, employment services should have multiple policy objectives that reflect the needs of the labour market and the future economy alongside societal and value judgements resolved through the political process.

4.136The Committee is concerned that the current Australian employment services system does not emphasise critical matters such as productivity, workforce participation, economic security, human capital, or secure work. Rather, the only objective of the system appears to be to kick people off welfare at any and every given moment, driven by the pernicious myth that all people on income support are lazy and have no intrinsic motivation to seek work. As a result, Australia’s employment services system has focused on conditioning the supply of workers under an excessive and self-defeating ‘work first’ approach which is largely disconnected from the demand side of the labour market.

4.137The focus of the system on forcing people off income support is apparent from service eligibility criteria: only people receiving a social security payment are eligible for support (with limited exceptions for youth employment and career transition support). Once a person obtains any job, they are not eligible for ongoing support to help them to progress in their careers or secure sustained, quality, well paid work.

4.138The Committee is strongly of the view that supporting people living on social security and who can work to rejoin the labour market as quickly as possible and reducing related reliance on income support are critical and primary goals. However, Australia must also take a broader view of the core functions employment services, as many countries have already done. A rebuilt system should be guided by a refreshed vision and a broader set of mutually reinforcing objectives to guide policy and program design and implementation, accompanied by broader service eligibility criteria to help more unemployed and underemployed people into sustainable work.

4.139The Committee proposes that the guiding vision for a rebuilt Commonwealth Employment Services System should be for all people in Australian to enjoy decent, secure employment and economic and social participation, regardless of who they are or where they live.

4.140The system should focus on supporting individuals to build their economic and social capabilities, including increasing the likelihood of sustainable employment, reducing risks of long-term unemployment, and addressing vocational and non-vocational barriers to social and economic participation. There should also be a greater focus on career progression for those in lower-income jobs, recognising that temporary, contract, and ‘gig’-type jobs may be part of a jobseeker’s pathway to longterm, more secure employment.

4.141While perhaps not practical as a formal objective, a broader system would have the benefit of increasing incomes and tax revenue rather than just a narrow focus on trimming the welfare bill, thus providing greater societal benefit.

4.142A rebuilt system should also respond more effectively to the skills and workforce needs of the Australian economy, with jobseekers given greater opportunity to obtain in-demand qualifications and skills relevant to their regional labour market as part of their pathway to employment—supported by industry insights. This is critical to a system which helps to increase productivity, and which responds effectively to dynamic labour markets and industry transitions.

4.143In addition, the system should focus on the demand side of the labour market and systematically ensure much higher levels of employer engagement. Employers must be supported to access job-ready candidates to meet their current and future needs, provided with effective HR support and job matching services, and incentivised and supported to hire LTU people.

4.144The diversity of jobseekers must also be better acknowledged, recognising that employment may not be the most appropriate immediate goal for every person. To continue to pretend otherwise is to deny the reality of the lived experience in every human society. Participation and Jobs Plans and mutual obligations (discussed later in this report) should be tailored ensuring these individuals have access to alternative services focused on addressing non-vocational barriers and maintaining social and community connections.

4.145The Committee strongly endorses the view that the objectives of the employment services system must be clear, cohesive, and consistent across all services. The broad objectives for a reformed system may be expressed as follows:

  • Support the wellbeing and economic security of individuals and their families through engagement in sustainable employment, preventing and addressing long-term unemployment and intergenerational disadvantage.
  • Respond to the workforce needs of business and industry and provide adaptive and flexible responses to energy and industry transitions.
  • Grow the skills and capabilities of the Australian workforce and advance the productivity of the Australian economy.
  • Build human capability and social capital to connect people with the full range of social and economic opportunities available within communities.
    1. The system will also have to manage trade-offs between competing objectives. Employment services can have multiple objectives. However, there is no system design that can balance all objectives equally, and the balance will ultimately reflect political and value judgements of the Australian Government.
    2. Obviously, the objectives that Government ultimately adopts will depend on policy and funding decisions, but the Committee strongly encourages a much broader conception of employment services to guide short- and long-term reforms.
    3. These broader objectives will necessitate changes to service eligibility over time, including changes to extend support to unemployed or underemployed people who are citizens, permanent residents, or temporary partner visa holders. Broader eligibility criteria would likely capture those stuck in casual and insecure work or trying to survive in the gig economy; those who want to up-skill or improve their economic security; people facing job loss; and people working in industries and regions facing economic transition. It is also important that eligibility for services consider people who are not in the labour force, for example because they may have become discouraged from seeking work after a long period of unemployment. Such people may not be captured by official Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) or other definitions of ‘unemployed’ and may not be registered to receive income support.
    4. In addition, the Committee considers it counter-productive that humanitarian entrants are not automatically eligible for employment services for 12 months after their arrival in Australia. The current exemption from mandatory participation should be maintained but there be clear eligibility provided in Workforce Australia and a rebuilt Commonwealth Employment Services System for permanent humanitarian visa holders to access employment services within the initial 12 months if they are ready to seek work and request help. This matter is also considered in Chapter 5, in the context of support for participants from CALD, migrant, and refugee backgrounds.
    5. The Committee acknowledges that significant adjustments to eligibility criteria for employment services may not be realistic in the short term, particularly noting that such changes could mean significant increases demand for services. Any cost increases need to provide value for money and provide a positive cost-benefit in achieving workforce participation, productivity, and economic security policy objectives. An evidence base needs to be built through trials of broader service eligibility as different cohorts will likely have very different needs and circumstances.

Recommendation 2

4.151The Committee recommends that the Australian Government work with key stakeholders to develop a refreshed vision, objectives and service eligibility for a rebuilt Commonwealth Employment Services System as follows:

  • The proposed guiding vision is that all Australians can enjoy decent, secure employment and economic and social participation, regardless of who they are or where they live.
  • The proposed objectives are:
  • support the wellbeing and economic security of individuals and their families through engagement in sustainable employment and preventing and addressing long-term unemployment and intergenerational disadvantage;
  • grow the skills and capabilities of the Australian workforce and advance the productivity of the Australian economy;
  • respond to the workforce needs of business and industry and provide adaptive and flexible responses to energy and industry transitions; and
  • build human capability and social capital to connect people with the full range of social and economic opportunities available in communities.

Subject to service design and fiscal constraints, desirable adjustments to service eligibility which should be trialled are to extend support to all people who are citizens or permanent residents and who are: unemployed, not in the labour force, or underemployed; stuck in casual and insecure work or trying to survive in the gig economy; wanting to up-skill or improve their economic security; facing job loss; or working in industries and regions facing economic transition.

4.152The Committee also considers it critical that formal mechanisms be instituted to enable ongoing input and feedback by jobseekers, advocacy organisations, stakeholders, and experts. This is critical to a client-informed approach to the design and delivery of employment services policy and programs.

4.153The Committee’s proposed approach, which should be subject to further consultation and refinement, is to institute one or more Client Councils to ensure client input from all states and territories, accompanied by a Coordinating Council.

  • The Client Council(s) would be responsible for advising ESA, the Commonwealth Government and participating State and Territory agencies on the systematic and lived experiences of jobseekers to inform continuous improvement to the system. They would not be a forum for individual complaints to be resolved. Consideration should be given to whether a Client Council should be established for each State and Territory or whether one or fewer Client Councils is desirable.
  • The Coordinating Council would be a high-level group of key stakeholders and experts with an Independent Chair as a standing forum for input into policy and program design and delivery, with a clear line of sight to the Client Council(s).
    1. Councils could be modelled on the Netherlands’ Client Councils, which advise the Dutch government on policies and practices, including matters which impact service quality.

Recommendation 3

4.155The Committee recommends that the Australian Government work with State and Territory Governments and key stakeholders to establish permanent mechanisms for client, stakeholder, and expert input into a rebuilt Commonwealth Employment Services System with the following elements:

  • One or more Client Councils tasked with inputting client experiences.
  • An Employment Services Coordinating Council, responsible for providing stakeholder and expert advice to support continuous improvement to policy and program design and delivery.
    1. After more than two decades of outsourced employment services the Australian public sector has little corporate memory or experience of the complexities of service delivery. DEWR—the department with primary responsibility for policy and program design and implementation—is largely detached from regional labour markets and local communities and the day-to-day reality of supporting unemployed people back into work. There is no understanding of what effective service models are or how much it costs to run a quality service, and direct feedback from service delivery into policy development, program design and delivery is woefully inadequate.
    2. The Committee does not agree with submitters who simplistically (and self-servingly) argue that government should not be ‘distracted’ by service delivery and concludes instead that government cannot remain a passive puppet master commissioning and contract managing from afar if better outcomes are to be achieved. Instead, the public sector must have a strong stewardship role across a rebuilt employment services system, complemented by some direct delivery of services in appropriate areas. There is no other effective human service where government does not have an active role in establishing what a quality service is and how much it costs: public hospitals are the core of the health system; public schools are the core of the school system; and public universities and TAFEs are the core of the tertiary education system. In these systems, public delivery of services is complemented by a rich ecosystem of private and not-for-profit services.
    3. The Committee does not propose the creation of a giant bureaucracy that does everything, nor the recreation of the old monolithic Commonwealth Employment Service (CES). Contestability and choice should remain part of the system. However, it is critical that government play a much more active role, including as a co-producer of services, the coordinator of policy, services, and funding across the public and private sectors, and the curator of a capable, responsive, and diverse network of providers. The skills and capabilities needed for each of these functions may be very different, and the organisational form of the responsible department and regulator (if adopted) will need careful thought.
    4. A more active role for government in service delivery and system stewardship should involve the creation of a new or reformed entity within DEWR which the Committee proposes be known externally as ‘Employment Services Australia’ (ESA). Whatever ‘brand’ Government adopts should be comprehensible to citizens and business and endure over a longer term, rather than being regularly changed according to tendering cycles or machinery of government processes.
    5. Proposed service delivery functions to be undertaken by ESA are explored in more detail later in the report but in summary include:
  • supporting jobseekers who are closest to the labour market through the provision of hybrid supports for those who will largely self-manage via digital services, complemented by a greater capacity for pro-active engagement and some lighter touch case management. This would incorporate the functions of the current Digital Services Contact Centre (DSCC) and requires that DEWR accept that they are a service provider—indeed the largest provider—and that the department be resourced appropriately. This would be in stark contrast to the current situation wherein the DSCC is only resourced to provide minimal ad-hoc or reactive advice and IT call centre support;
  • overseeing ESA Regional Hubs which include service gateways (detailed below), institutionalising service system mapping, assessment, referral and other core coordinating and enabling functions under the public sector;
  • case management for certain cohorts including:
  • people undertaking approved participation activities (such as mental health or ‘life first’ activities or intensive English language study) prior to job search and referral to an appropriate service and provider;
  • jobseekers furthest from the labour market, including those who have not succeeded in contracted services, those for whom employment is not a realistic current goal, and those who do not require or warrant ‘Job Coach’ services; and
  • jobseekers exhibiting the most challenging behaviours and those who are persistently non-compliant with their obligations. This small minority would be subject to legitimate and more intensive activation and compliance activities;
  • case management in thin markets (a provider of last resort); and
  • case management in a limited number of other regions explicitly in order for the public sector to re-establish direct experience of service delivery in different settings—for the reasons set out later in this report.
    1. The ESA Regional Hubs are to be the public face of ESA, and should exercise the following functions:
  • local service system coordination and mapping, including analysis of local labour market data from sources such as JSA and the ABS;
  • assessments of jobseekers and referral to services. This is discussed in further detail in Chapter 9, in the context of an enhanced assessment framework;
  • industry and employer engagement and support. This is discussed in more detail in Chapter 12, in the context of an enhanced service for employers;
  • administration of government support and grants for social enterprise and local projects. This is discussed in more detail in Chapters 12 and 13; and
  • the delivery of industry transition and place-based projects for Commonwealth or State Governments where relevant.
    1. ESA Regional Hubs should be able to support registered jobseekers and should also have capacity to support people on a ‘walk in’ basis. The hubs should be an enduring physical presence in the community, with their footprint determined according to local and community need. Where appropriate hubs should offer digital and outreach services to thin markets and rural and regional areas.
    2. As outlined in Chapter 15, itis proposed that employment regions be reduced in size to reflect labour markets and communities of interest (likely doubling the number of regions) while maintaining viable mainstream caseloads for efficient provider servicing by dialling back unnecessary competition and fragmentation in each area. Enabling functions and mainstream case management would be complemented by a richer ecosystem of organisations with specialist expertise or functions and local community services.
    3. While in theory ESA Regional Hubs could be delivered by a contracted not-for-profit partner as an ‘enabling organisation’ in each region, given the nature of the functions and the importance of continuity they would be better delivered by the public sector as the core or spine to a rebuilt system. One of the major problems that has been identified during this inquiry is service fragmentation and a lack of continuity, and it makes little sense to contract out the core coordinating functions and continue with the pretence that the private sector is always more efficient or innovative in the delivery of human services. There is no compelling evidence to support such a view internationally or domestically, nor is there evidence that extrinsic motivations and threats are necessary to deliver a quality enabling service.
    4. Some functions currently performed for DEWR by Services Australia, some functions undertaken via the Local Jobs Program, and some of the functions of DEWR’s State and Territory offices could also be rolled into the ESA Regional Hubs. ESA’s gateway services may also undertake Employment Services Assessments (ESAts) for DSS. The Committee is not proposing to design in detail the split of responsibilities and staffing between ESA, Services Australia, and DSS, and acknowledges this needs further refinement.
    5. The Committee is attracted to co-locating ESA Regional Hubs with Services Australia offices or sites where human services or other government services are delivered. Different models could be trialled while other reforms to the employment services system are progressed.
    6. Each hub would be supported by a regional governance mechanism (a Regional Advisory Board as a working title) to guide each region’s strategy and activities. Membership should be determined by the DEWR Secretary and should not be political in nature. Ideally, advisory boards would comprise influential trusted local experts and people who bring resources and local networks, such as TAFE CEOs, major public and private local employers, local government CEOs, people with lived experience, and service organisations. Commonwealth and State Government agencies may also be represented.
    7. This regional governance mechanism would be responsible for the identification of place-based, person-centred initiatives that respond to local needs and opportunities, supported by local data and knowledge. It would also focus on demand side (that is, job creation) opportunities and building the capacity of the local service ecosystem while maintaining a strategic view of investments coming into the region and economic shocks and opportunities. This may entail leveraging or absorbing existing regional governance structures such as the Tasmanian Job Hubs network, Jobs Victoria (in regions where it continues to operate) and similar employment and skills coordinating entities that exist in other jurisdictions. The adoption of elements of existing state-based systems is discussed in more detail in Chapter 16.

Recommendation 4

4.169The Committee recommends that the Australian Government implement the following measures to enhance its role in stewarding the employment service system and increase the direct delivery of services by government:

  • Establish Employment Services Australia (ESA) as a new entity within the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations to undertake specified activities including core enabling functions in regions, be a large hybrid provider for those closest to the labour market, and some case management activities as outlined in this report.
  • Establish a network of regional hubs and service gateways delivered by ESA. The regional hubs should be colocated where possible with existing services and include the following core-enabling functions:
  • local service system coordination and mapping;
  • jobseeker assessment and referrals to services;
  • industry and employer engagement and support;
  • administration of government support for social enterprise and local projects; and
  • delivery of industry transition and place-based projects for Commonwealth and State Governments.
    1. The primary focus of a rebuilt system must be on supporting jobseekers to prepare for, find, and maintain employment in the open labour market. However, a critical part of a system that has a greater focus on demand is the role that governments at all levels can play in creating work opportunities to help LTU and disadvantaged people back into the labour market. This can include modest, sensible increases in direct employment, as well as leveraging Commonwealth spending via social procurement and greater investment in active labour market programs to require, incentivise and support the private sector to give disadvantaged people a go.
    2. In many other nations it is part of the social fabric that government actively and visibly leads by example in employing or giving paid work experience and training to disadvantaged jobseekers. However, Australia has lost focus on this in the misplaced belief that somehow the market will solve all problems if only we condition and activate the supply of labour. This has been proven not to be sufficient. If we do not focus more on demand, we will continue to see similar outcomes and long-term unemployment will remain structurally high. Some government agencies in Australia offer internships and traineeships to cohorts of jobseekers. These could be reinvigorated to accommodate additional entry-level and paid work experience positions with linkages to training and skills development.
    3. Direct action by government agencies is far easier in countries where community, human, and property-related services are not as extensively contracted out. Given that Australia operates a largely outsourced system, leveraging the procurement spend of Commonwealth, State, Territory, and local governments will be critical.
    4. Social procurement is not a magic bullet. However, there is clearly scope to better leverage government spending on major government projects and large service contracts to create more opportunities for LTU and disadvantaged jobseekers on the employment services caseload. Indeed, social procurement probably offers more in terms of opportunities than direct job creation in government agencies given the extent of outsourcing in Australia.
    5. The Committee therefore recommends that Government develop and implement a holistic Social Procurement Framework broadly modelled on existing Commonwealth and state approaches. This should include considering measures such as targets for apprenticeships on major projects and take particular account of the Victorian Social Procurement Framework. The Commonwealth should also encourage all State and Territory Governments to develop and implement social procurement frameworks, which should be integrated with the Commonwealth framework to the extent possible. Governments at all levels should consider the potential contribution that publicly owned utilities and corporations could make, and local governments could consider social procurement obligations over time given the extent of outsourcing in Australia of council services with high numbers of entry level jobs.
    6. The Committee acknowledges that there will likely be at least some opposition from central agencies to an expanded approach to social procurement to secure more employment opportunities for disadvantaged jobseekers and does not propose this be overdone—it has to be realistic. However, if government is serious about making inroads to entrenched disadvantage, social procurement can and should play a part.
    7. To ensure that the Social Procurement Framework is coherent for business and does not result in excessive red tape, the framework will need to be integrated with or preferably incorporate existing approaches, including the Commonwealth Indigenous Procurement Policy and the Buy Australia Plan. A broader strategy should include options for businesses receiving large government contracts to either directly employ LTU or disadvantaged jobseekers or meet their obligations by increased purchasing from certified social enterprises which support people with disability, LTU people, disengaged youth, single parents, migrants and refugees, and workers in transition. For major projects or contracts undertaken in regions with entrenched disadvantage, support for job readiness and employment opportunities for local people could be positively weighted in procurement processes.
    8. A proposal for certification of social enterprises (in essence adopting the established Social Traders Framework) is discussed in Chapter 13. This is a critical enabler to an effective and efficient Social Procurement Framework.
    9. The Committee also recommends the Australian Government create and fund one permanent administrative traineeship position for disadvantaged jobseekers in each Member of Parliament’s electorate office to lead by example. Given the episodic nature of these traineeship positions and the need for staff supervision, these would complement the existing electorate office staffing arrangements. While only a modest aggregate contribution to job creation for people at risk of sustained disconnection from the labour market, such a position would help to dispel negative stereotypes and usefully expose all members to the lived experiences of disadvantaged people. Placements would last for between nine and 18 months and provide paid work integrated with a VET qualification while the trainee undertakes supported job search. Candidates could be drawn from priority cohorts including young or mature aged people, people from CALD backgrounds, First Nations peoples, or people with disability. Taking account of election timing, at least two trainees per electoral cycle could be accommodated.

Recommendation 5

4.179The Committee recommends that the Australian Government develop and implement a Commonwealth Social Procurement Framework to leverage Commonwealth spending on major projects and large service contracts to create more employment and training opportunities for long-term unemployed and disadvantaged jobseekers. The Framework should align with and complement existing approaches in the Commonwealth at the State and Territory level and be developed with input from key sector enablers such as Social Traders, National Disability Services, Fair Work, and Supply Nation.

All States and Territories should be encouraged to adopt a similar approach. This should include greater commitment to employing local people when Commonwealth, State, and local government services are delivered in local and regional areas and to improving gender outcomes in certain sectors such as construction.

Recommendation 6

4.180The Committee recommends that the Australian Government work with State, Territory, and local governments to develop and implement strategies to provide long-term unemployed people with job opportunities, including targets for the creation of entry-level jobs, paid internships and traineeships in Commonwealth, State, and Territory agencies and consideration of the role that State owned utilities and corporations could play. This should include greater commitment to employing local people when Commonwealth, State, and local government services are delivered in local and regional areas.

Recommendation 7

4.181The Committee recommends that the Government create a permanent administrative traineeship position for disadvantaged jobseekers in the electorate office of each Member of Parliament. Each placement would last between nine and 18 months, and include paid work integrated with a vocational education and training qualification and allow for a subsequent period of work while undertaking supported job search.


[1]See, for example, CVGT Employment (CVGT), Submission 106, p. 4; Professor Lelia Green, Dr Kylie Stevenson, Dr Kelly Jaunems, Ms Claire Hanlon and Mr Arthur Hanlon (Professor Green et al), Submission120, p. [2]; Jobs Australia, Submission 185, p. [5]; Workskil Australia (Workskil), Submission196, p.5; VERTO, Submission 202, p. [7].

[2]See, for example, MAX Solutions (MAX), Submission 146, p. 3; National Youth Commission Australia (NYCA), Submission 166, p. [2]; atWork Australia (atWork), Submission 210, p. 2; Associate Professor Jo Ingold and Mr Tony Carr (DrIngold and Mr Carr), Submission 216, p.1.

[3]See, for example, Name Withheld, Submission 123, p. [1]; Sarina Russo Job Access (SRJA), Submission145, p. 6; Australian Retailers Association (ARA), Submission 175, p. 2.

[4]See, for example, SSI, Submission 193, p. 3; Multicultural Australia, Submission 182, pages 13-14; Name Withheld, Submission 264, p. [7].

[5]Professor Jeff Borland, Submission 171, p. 2.

[6]Per Capita, Submission 252, pages [22–24]; National Employment Services Association (NESA) Submission260, pages 14, 19.

[7]Dr David O’Halloran, Advocacy and Research Officer, Australian Unemployed Workers’ Union (AUWU), Committee Hansard, 19 September 2023, p. 10.

[8]D O’Halloran, L Farnworth, and N Thomacos (2022), ‘The development of the Australian Unemployed Workers Union Rating Scale of employment service providers’, Australian Journal of Public Administration, 81(4), p.516.

[9]See C van Eijk, T Steen and R Torenvlied (2019), ‘Public Professionals’ Engagement in Coproduction: The Impact of the Work Environment on Elderly Care Managers’ Perceptions of Collaboration with Client Councils’, American Review of Public Administration, 49(6), p. 734.

[10]Ms Belinda Catelli, Assistant Secretary—Activities and Experience, Department of Employment and Workplace Relations (DEWR), Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p. 51.

[11]See, for example, MAX, Submission 146, p.3; IntoWork Australia (IntoWork), Submission 156, p. 1; Workskil, Submission 196, p. 4; VERTO, Submission 202, pages [4, 6]; atWork, Submission 210, p.2; APM, Submission 213, p. 6.

[12]See, for example, SRJA, Submission 145, p. 5; WISE Employment, Submission 169, pages 6–7; AMES Australia (AMES), Submission 148, pages 3, 4; Brotherhood of St Laurance (BSL), Centre for Policy Development (CPD) and University of Melbourne (UniMelb), Submission 256, pages 6, 13, 37; Paul Ramsay Foundation (PRF), Submission 304, p. 6; Professor Shelley Mallett, Director—Social Policy and Research Centre, BSL, Committee Hansard, 14March2023, p. 20,

[13]Professor Borland, Submission 171, p. 2.

[14]See, for example, Name Withheld, Submission 93, p. 5; MsPhoebeAutumn, Submission 124, p. [1]; NameWithheld, Submission 137, p. [2]; Name Withheld, Submission 223, p.[1]; Melissa Fisher, Submission 235, p. [1]; Mr Adam Johnston, Submission 275, p. [2].

[15]See, for example, St Vincent de Paul Society, Submission 170, p. 3; Multicultural Australia, Submission 182, p. 2; HOST International (HOST), Submission 188, p. 3; SSI, Submission 193, pages 3, 5–6, Workskil, Submission 196, pages 4–5; Australian Youth Affairs Commission (AYAC), Submission 238, p. 2.

[16]See, for example, Ms Sandra Elhelw Wright, CEO, Settlement Council of Australia (SCoA), Committee Hansard, 17 May 2023, pages 28–29.

[17]BSL, Submission 249, p. 51.

[18]Mrs Christine Castley, CEO, Multicultural Australia, Committee Hansard, 6 June 2023; p.9.

[19]See, Professor Borland, Submission 171, p. 2; Jobs Australia, Submission 185, p. 5.

[20]DEWR, Submission 254, p. 71; Ms Natalie James, Secretary, DEWR, Committee Hansard, 3November2022, p.4.

[21]See, for example, Integrated Information Service (ISS), Submission 219, p. 1; Alffie, Submission 299, pages2, 6–8.

[22]See, for example, CVGT, Submission 106, p. 4; IntoWork, Submission 156, p. 1; WDEA Works, Submission 168, p.6; NESA, Submission 260, pages 14.

[23]Professor Green et al, Submission 120, p. [3].

[24]See, for example, Professor Green et al, Submission 120, p. [3]; WISE Employment, Submission 169, p. 8; Australian Local Government Association (ALGA), Submission 172, p. [2]; NESA, Submission 260, pages 60, 64–65; Dr Lisa Fowkes, Director—Employment, Social Ventures Australia (SVA), Committee Hansard, 17May2023, p.34.

[25]Mr Mark Glasson, CEO, Anglicare WA, Committee Hansard, 1 February 2023, p. 2.

[26]Per Capita, Submission 252, p. [24].

[27]See, for example, SSI, Submission 193, p. 6; PRF, Submission 304, pages 2, 7; Dr Shae Garwood, Manager—Research, Advocacy and Prevention, Anglicare WA, Committee Hansard, 1 February 2023, p. 4; Professor Gaby Ramia, private capacity, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p. 5.

[28]Professor Green et al, Submission 120, p. [3].

[29]See, for example, MatchWorks, Submission 263, p. 25; Mr Hugh Reilly, General Manager, atWork, Committee Hansard, 1 February 2023, p.20.

[30]See, for example, AMES, Submission 148, p. 4; Workskil, Submission 196, p 5; The BUSY Group Ltd (BUSY), Submission 227, p. 3; Mr Fraser Faithful, Submission 282, p. [2].

[31]See, for example, Dr Ann Nevile, Submission 136, p. 7; Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI), Submission 236, p. 2; BSL, Submission 249, pages 50, 55; Per Capita, Submission 252, pages[11,25]; Victorian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), Submission 259, p. 2; Prospert Training and Consulting (Prospert), Submission 301, pages 1–3; Dr Ingold, private capacity, Committee Hansard, 16June 2032, p. 1; Ms Wendy Black, Head of Policy, Business Council of Australia (BCA), Committee Hansard, 11August 2023, p. 16.

[32]Dr Nevile, Submission 136, p. 5.

[33]See, for example, Mr Colin Williams, Submission 64, p. [1]; CVGT, Submission 106, p. 5; Name Withheld, Submission 164, p. [7]; NYCA, Submission 166, p. [2]; The Salvation Army Employment Plus (SAEP), Submission 199, p. 6; VERTO, Submission 202, p. [16]; NESA, Submission 260, p. 17.

[34]ACCI, Submission 236, pages 2, 3.

[35]NESA, Submission 260, pages 8, 14, 18, 38.

[36]See, for example, The Multicultural Professional Network Inc (MPN), Submission 99, p. 3; Per Capita, Submission 252, p. 10; Australian Retailers Association (ARA), Submission 175, p. 2; SAEP, Submission 199, p. 7; VERTO, Submission 202, p. [13].

[37]See, for example, Mr Williams, Submission 64, p. [2]; Regional Development Australia (RDA) Gold Coast, Submission 96, p. 2; MPN, Submission 99, p. 3; Dr Nevile, Submission 136, p.6; SRJA, Submission 145, p. 9; Australian Centre for Career Education (ACCE), Submission 149, pages 11-12; SSI, Submission 193, p. 13; Dr Ingold and Mr Carr, Submission 216, pages 3, 5–6.

[38]See, for example, Greater South East Melbourne (GSEM), Submission 155, p. [7]; ALGA, Submission 172, p. [2].

[39]See, for example, MPN, Submission 99, p. [3]; Campbell Page, Submission 150, pages [8–9]; Generation Australia, Submission 154, pages 2, 6–7.

[40]Mr David Turvey, First Assistant Secretary, Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA), Committee Hansard, 20September 2023, pages 63, 64.

[41]See, for example, GSEM, Submission 155, pages [5–6]; WISE Employment, Submission 169, p. 10; yourtown, Submission 198, pages 9; APM, Submission 213, p. 19; Mr Jay Connan, Co-coordinator, Research and Policy, Antipoverty Centre, Committee Hansard, 19 September 2023, p. 16.

[42]See, for example, Tasmanian Government, Submission 174, p. 6; Management Governance Australia, Submission 183, p. 2; SAEP, Submission 199, p. 27; VERTO, Submission 202, p. [6]; North Burnett Community Service (NBCS), Submission 268, p. [1].

[43]See, for example, ACCE, Submission 149, p. 6; WDEA Works, Submission 168, p. 6; yourtown, Submission198, pages 11–12; APM, Submission 213, p. 19; VCCI, Submission 259, p. 5; Antipoverty Centre, Submission 276, p. [4]; Social Enterprise Australia, Submission 305, p. [10].

[44]National Indigenous Australians Agency (NIAA), Submission 176, p. 4.

[45]See, for example, DEWR, Submission 254, pages 12–13, 97; BSL, CPD and UniMelb, Submission 256, pages 5–6.

[46]Mr Turvey, JSA, Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, pages 60–61.

[47]OECD (2023), Job Creation and Local Economic Development 2023: Bridging the great green divide, pages124, 134–136, 149–155,, viewed 20 November 2023.

[48]See, for example, Name Withheld, Submission 164, p. [7]; Professor Borland, Submission 171, pages 2–4; NESA, Submission 260, pages 1, 3, 8; Steven de Vroom, Submission 279, p. [2].

[49]See, for example, CVGT, Submission 106, p. 6; Enterprise and Training Company (ETC), Submission 133, p.2; SRJA; Submission 145, p. 6; atWork, Submission 210, p. 2; Yilabara Solutions, Submission 231, p. 7.

[50]Dr Fowkes, SVA, Committee Hansard, 17 May 2017, p. 32.

[51]See Productivity Commission (2023), 5-year Productivity Inquiry:Advancing Prosperity, Inquiry Report No.100, vol 1: pages 14, 16, 75, vol 7: pages 1, 4, vol 8: pages 85–88, 92, completed/productivity/report, viewed 20 November 2023.

[52]DEWR, Submission 254, pages 11–12.

[53]See, for example, Professor Borland, Submission 171, p. 4; Nirrumbuk Aboriginal Corporation (NAC), Submission 180, p. [6]; Workskil, Submission 196, p. 4; Minderoo Foundation Trust - Generation One, Submission 222, p. 1; SVA, Submission 232, p. 4; PRF, Submission 304, pages 12–13; Ms Julie-Ann Guivarra, Deputy CEO—Policy and Programs, NIAA, Committee Hansard, 17 May 2023, p.15.

[54]See, for example, Youth Projects, Submission 141, p.15; Multicultural Australia, Submission 182, pages7–8; Refugee Council of Australia (RCOA), Submission 226, p.12; BSL, Submission249, p.61.

[55]See, for example, SYC Ltd (SYC), Submission 189, p. 11; APM, Submission 213, p. 4; Per Capita, Submission 252, pages 10, 11; Antipovertry Centre, Submission 276, p. [7].

[56]See, for example, Professor Mark Considine, private capacity, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p. 12; DrMichael McGann, private capacity, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p. 13. Dr Travers McLeod, Executive Director, BSL, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p. 19; Ms Kendra Banks, Managing Director—Australia and New Zealand, SEEK, Committee Hansard, 11 August 2023, p. 4.

[57]NESA, Submission 260, p. 15.

[58]BSL, Submission 249, p.43.

[59]SVA, Submission 254 Attachment 2, p. [1].

[60]Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS), Submission 203, pages 27–28.

[61]See, for example, IntoWork, Submission 156, p. 3; Joblink Plus, Submission 157, p. 10; Mission Australia, Submission 190, p. 2; ACOSS, Submission 203, p. 29; Per Capita, Submission 252, pages [20–21]; NESA, Submission 260, p. 16; Ms Brown, CPD, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p.19; Ms Emma Dawson, Executive Director, Per Capita, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p.30.

[62]Professor Borland, Submission 171, p. 14.

[63]Navitas, Submission 262, p. 12.

[64]Ms Brown, CPD, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p. 18.

[65]See, for example, Workskil, Submission 196, p. 5; Per Capita, Submission 252, p. [22]; Professor Mallett, BSL, Committee Hansard, 14March 2023, p 26; Dr Fowkes, SVA, Committee Hansard, 17 May, p. 35.

[66]Government of Victoria, Submission 278, p.

[67]BSL, Submission 249, p. 45.

[68]Professor Mallett, BSL, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p 26.

[69]SCoA, Submission 211, p. 8.

[70]Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet (2019), Investing in Refugees, Investing in Australia: The findings of a Review into Integration, Employment and Settlement Outcomes for Refugees and Humanitarian Entrants in Australia, pages 5–6, 27–28;; viewed 20 November 2023.

[71]Department of Home Affairs, Submission 302, pages 3, 9.

[72]Ms Robyn Shannon, Acting Deputy Secretary—Disability and Carers, Department of Social Services (DSS), Committee Hansard, 26May 2023, pages 1–2, 3.

[73]NIAA, Submission 176, p. 2; See also Ms Guivarra, NIAA, Committee Hansard, 17 May 2023, p.13.

[74]See, for example, Joblink Plus, Submission 157, p. 10; SYC, Submission 189, p. 8; Workskil, Submission 196, p. 12; atWork, Submission 210, p. 4; ARA, Submission 175, p. 2; SVA, Submission 232, p.12; BSL,Submission 249, pages 24, 43; Ms Annabel Brown, CPD, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, pages19, 27.

[75]See, for example, Tasmanian Government, Submission 174, p. [3]; Queensland Department of Employment, Small Business and Training (DESBT), Submission 243, pages 4, 5–10; Ms Lill Healy, Deputy Secretary—Skills and Employment, Victorian Government: Department of Jobs, Skills, Industry and Regions (DJSIR), Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p. 15.

[76]See, for example, Ability Works, Submission 147, pages [1-2] (information provided on the City of Greater Dandenong Council); GSEM, Submission 155, p. [9]; ALGA, Submission 172, p. [1].

[77]See, for example, Tasmanian Government, Submission 174, p. [4]; Government of Victoria, Submission 278, p. 1; Ms Karen Ho, Director General, Western Australian Government: Department of Training and Workforce Development (DTWD), Committee Hansard, 1February 2023, p. 22.

[78]DEWR, Submission 254, pages 39, 47-48, 96, 165, 175.

[79]See, for example, Dr Nevile, Submission 136, p. 7; IntoWork, Submission 156, p. 2; Mission Australia, Submission 190, p. .2; Getting Welfare to Work Research Team, Submission 191, p. 5; SSI, Submission 193, p. 7; BSL, Submission 249, p. 24.

[80]NESA, Submission 260, p. 37.

[81]BSL, CPD and UniMelb, Submission 256, pages 27, 28.

[82]Ms Ho, DTWD, Committee Hansard, 1February 2023, p. 22. See also, Ms Healy, DJSIR, Committee Hansard, 20September 2023, p. 12.

[83]Tasmanian Government, Submission 174, p. [11].

[84]See, for example, Per Capita, Submission 78, pages 7, 19–20; GSEM, Submission 155, pages [6–7]; ALGA, Submission 172, p. [2]; ACOSS, Submission 203, pages 34–35; Antipoverty Centre, Submission 276, p [14].

[85]NESA, Submission 260, p. 40.

[86]See, for example, Professor Borland, Submission 171, pages 1, 7–8; BSL, CPD and UniMelb, Submission 256, pages13, 23; Mrs Castley, Multicultural Australia, Committee Hansard, 6June2023, p.4.

[87]See, for example, Workskil, Submission 196, p. 5; BSL, Submission 249, p.43; Per Capita, Submission 252, p. 11; NESA, Submission 260, pages 15–16.

[88]NESA, Submission 260, p. 14; Dr May Lam, Senior Fellow, Per Capita, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p. 30.

[89]Workskil, Submission 196, p. 7.

[90]Ms Shannon, DSS, Committee Hansard, 26 May 2023, pages 1–2, 3.

[91]RDA Kimberley, Submission 105, p. [4].

[92]Ms Guivarra, NIAA, Committee Hansard, 17 May 2023, p. 13.

[93]See, for example, VCCI, Submission 259, pages 2, 4; Dr Nevile, Submission 136, p. 7; Dr Ingold and Mr Carr, Submission 216, p. 3.

[94]See National Self-Employment Association (NSEA), Submission 225, pages 3; DEWR, Submission 254, pages 28–29, 170–172.

[95]The Treasury, Submission 307, pages 1–2. Treasury stated that they do not consider there to be any overlap between their programs with the employment services system.

[96]Department of Industry, Science, and Resources, AusIndustry,, viewed 20 November 2023.

[97]See, for example, Youth Projects, Submission 141, p. 13; SVA, Submission 232, pages 11–12, 16; SVA, Submission 232 (Attachment 2), pages [1–2].

[98]See, for example, Department of Home Affairs, Submission 302, p. 8; SCoA Submission 211, p.10; Navitas, Submission 262, p. 4.

[99]Department of Veterans’ Affairs, Submission 306, p. 9.

[100]NESA, Submission 260, pages 8, 14.

[101]See Career Development Association Australia (CDAA), Submission 101, pages 3–6; ACCE, Submission149, pages 4–5, 8.

[102]See, for example, ACOSS, Submission 203, p.28. See also ACCE, Submission 149, p. 3.

[103]Productivity Commission (2020), National Agreement for Skills and Workforce Development Review, pages191, 199, 212.

[104]Productivity Commission (2023), 5-year Productivity Inquiry:Advancing Prosperity, vol. 8: p. 89.

[105]See, for example, Name Withheld, Submission 93, pages 4, 5; Name Withheld, Submission 123, p. [1]; Name Withheld, Submission 137, p. [3].

[106]AUWU, Submission 253, pages [3, 12].

[107]See, for example, Dr Ingold and Mr Carr, Submission 216, pages 3-4; SSI, Submission 193, p. 7; SRJA, Submission 145, pages 6, 8; CVGT, Submission106, pages 4-5; Navitas, Submission 262, p. 3.

[108]See, for example, CVGT, Submission 106, p. 5; MAX, Submission 146, p. 36; Generation Australia, Submission 154, p. 1; Ms Ho, DTWD, Committee Hansard, 1 February 2023, p. 28.

[109]Dr Ingold and Mr Carr, Submission 216, pages 3-4.

[110]See, for example, Name Withheld, Submission 187, p. [1]; Australian Services Union (ASU), Submission 205, p. [3]; Professor Ramia, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p. 6.

[111]WISE Employment, Submission 169, pages 4-5.

[112]yourtown, Submission 198, p. 5.

[113]Western Australia Association for Mental Health (WAAMH), Submission 248, pages 22–23, 24.

[114]See, for example, BSL, Submission 249, p. 18; Per Capita, Submission 252, p. [18]; BSL, CPD and UniMelb, Submission 256, pages.5, 23; MsDawson, Per Capita, Committee Hansard, 14March2023, pages29–30.

[115]Dr McGann, Committee Hansard, 14March2023, p. 15.

[116]See, for example, Mr Williams, Submission 64, p. [5]; CoAct, Submission 151, p. 6; Professor Borland, Submission 171, pages 14-15; BSL, Submission 249, p. 18; Community and Public Sector Union (CPSU), Submission 255, pages[9–10]; Professor Considine, Committee Hansard, 14March2023, p. 8.

[117]MAX, Submission 146, p. 11.

[118]See, for example, K Breidahl and F Larsen (2015), ‘The Developing Trajectory of the Marketization of Public Employment Services In Denmark – A New Way Forward or the End of Marketization?’, European Policy Analysis, 1(1), p. 92.

[119]K Breidahl and F Larsen (2020), Marketization of employment services – Historical insights and inherent dilemmas, Aalborg University, pages 5–8.

[120]BSL, CPD and UniMelb, Submission 256, p. 33.

[121]Productivity Commission (2017), Introducing Competition and Informed User Choice into Human Services: Reforms to Human Services, p. 61.

[122]Australian Public Service Commission (APSC) (2015), Department of Employment: Capability Review, p.20,, viewed 22August2023.

[123]See, for example, Professor Borland, Submission 171, pages 14–15; BSL, CPD and UniMelb, Submission 256, pages 17, 33; Antipoverty Centre, Submission 276, pages [13–14]; Professor Borland, Committee Hansard, 14March 2023, p. 2; Ms Brown, CPD, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p. 19.

[124]See, for example, SSI, Submission 193, pages 3, 8–9; Dr Ingold and Mr Carr, Submission 216, p. 2; BSL,Submission 249, pages 22–23; BSL, CPD and UniMelb, Submission 256, pages 7, NESA, Submission 260, pages 9, 37, 38; Navitas, Submission 262, p. 9; Dr McGann, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, pages 14, 22.

[125]Mrs Nicole Mattsson, National Services Design and Integration Leader, IntoWork, Committee Hansard, 14March 2023, p. 67.

[126]BUSY, Submission 227, p. 3.

[127]See, for example, BSL, Submission 249, p. 6; Professor Borland, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p. 2; Professor Ramia, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p. 5; Professor Considine, Committee Hansard, 14March 2023, p. 8; Ms Dawson, Per Capita, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, pages 29–30.

[128]The Treasury (2015), Competition Policy Review: Final Report, pages 34–37, 223–225, 229, 249–250. Seealso NESA, Submission 260, pages 83–84.

[129]Commonwealth of Australia (2023), Working Future: The Australian Government's White Paper on Jobs and Opportunities, p. 224.

[130]The Hon Tony Burke MP, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and the Hon Jim Chalmers MP, Treasurer, Joint Media Release: Strengthening Australia's employment services, 25September 2023.

[131]DEWR (2023), Portfolio Budget Statements 2023–24: Budget Related Paper No. 1.6, p. 18.

[132]DEWR, Submission 254.8, p. [11].

[133]See, for example, Mr Con Kittos, Executive Chairman, Asuria, Committee Hansard, 26 May 2023, p. 20; Mr Mark Van Lith, Managing Director, ABS Institute of Management, Committee Hansard, 26 May 2023, p. 22.

[134]Jobs Australia, Submission 185, p.6; NESA, Submission 260, pages 24–25. See also SRJA, Submission 145, p. 10; MatchWorks, Submission 263, p. 10.

[135]BUSY, Submission 227, p. 4.

[136]See, for example, Dr Victor Quirk, Submission 209, p. 2; AYAC, Submission 238, p. 2; GetUp!, Submission 251, pages 3, 4; CPSU, Submission 255, pages [9–10, 13–14].

[137]See, for example, Getting Welfare to Work Research Team, Submission 191, p. 4; BSL, CPD and UniMelb, Submission 256, pages17–18, 20–21; Name Withheld, Submission 264, p. [10]; Dr McGann, Lecturer—School of Social and Political Sciences, UniMelb, Committee Hansard, 14March2023, p. 22.

[138]See, for example, Getting Welfare to Work Research Team, Submission 191, p. 4; Dr McGann, UniMelb, Committee Hansard, 14March2023, p. 21.

[139]Professor Considine, Committee Hansard, 14March2023, pages 7–8.

[140]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, pages 4, 44–46,, viewed 20 November2023.

[141]Professor Ramia, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p. 5.

[142]See, for example, Professor Borland, Submission 171, p. 12; NESA, Submission 260, pages 25–26; MsAnnette Gill, Principal Policy Advisor, NESA, Committee Hansard, 14March2023, p. 39.

[143]Dr Bob Davidson and Dr Dianna Perche, Submission 273 (Attachment 2), pages [37–39]

[144]Dr Davidson and Dr Perche, Submission 273 (Attachment 2), p. [39].

[145]BSL, CPD and UniMelb, Submission 256, pages 20–22.

[146]BSL, CPD and UniMelb, Submission 256.1, p. 5.

[147]Ms Cara Nolan, Senior Adviser, BSL, Committee Hansard, 20 September 2023, p. 2. See also BSL, CPD, and UniMelb, Submission 256.1, pages 5, 9.

[148]BSL (2017), Reforms to human services: response to the Productivity Commission, p. 31,, viewed 17 November 2023.

[149]Dr Nevile, Submission 136.1, pages [4–5].

[150]Dr Nevile, Submission 136, pages 1–3.

[151]See, for example, Anglicare WA, Submission 127, p. [5]; ACCE, Submission 149, p. 11; Name Withheld, Submission 160, p. [25].

[152]See, for example, Joblink Plus, Submission 157, p. 15; WISE Employment, Submission 169, p. 16; Justice Reform Initiative (JRI), Submission 178, pages 12–13; atWork, Submission 210, p. [10]; APM, Submission 213, p.18; MatchWorks, Submission 263, pages 5, 31; Name Withheld, Submission 264, p. [16]; White Box Enterprises, Submission 274, p. [4]; Mrs Mattsson, IntoWork, Committee Hansard, 14 March 2023, p. 71.

[153]Dr Ingold and Mr Carr, Submission 216, p. 4.

[154]Government of Victoria, Submission 278, pages 23–24. See also Social Traders, Submission 297, pages 8–9.

[155]Social Traders, Submission 297, p. 8.

[156]NESA, Submission 260, p. 37.

[157]Dr Lam, Per Capita, Committee Hansard, 19 September 2023, p. 30

[158]See, for example, SAEP, Submission 199, p. 55; atWork, Submission 210, p. [10].

[159]Dr Fowkes, SVA, Committee Hansard, 17 May 2023, p. 39.

[160]AMES, Submission 148, p. 7.

[161]Mr Carl Binning, Group Manager—Economic Empowerment, NIAA, Committee Hansard, 17 May 2023, p.14.

[162]Mrs Bamblett, Coalition of Peaks, Committee Hansard, 17 May 2023, p. 24.

[163]Mindaroo Foundation Trust – Generation One, Submission 222, pages 4–5.

[164]See, for example, BSL, Submission 249, pages 23, 58; White Box Enterprises, Submission 274, p. [1]; PRF,Submission 304, pages 3–4; Social Enterprise Australia (SEA), Submission 305, pages [4–5].

[165]See, for example, Professor Green et al, Submission 120, p. [5]; ETC, Submission 133, pages 3–4; NationalFoundation for Australian Women (NFAW), Submission 135, p. [7]; Ability Works, Submission 147, p. [2]; White Box Enterprises, Submission 274, pages [3–4]; Social Traders, Submission298, p. 7; DrPeterDavidson, Principal Adviser, ACOSS, Committee Hansard, 19September 2023, p. 34.

[166]Government of Victoria, Submission 278, pages 21–23, 24.

[167]See, for example, Success Works, Submission 139, p. [1]; Ability Works, Submission 147, pages [2]; The Holland Foundation, Submission 167, p. [1]; Good Cycles, Submission 237, p. 6; White Box Enterprise, Submission 274, p. [1]; Social Traders, Submission 298, pages 3, 5–6.

[168]See, for example, CVGT, Submission 106, p. 10; Professor Green et al, Submission 120, p. [4]; ACCE, Submission 149, p. 6; GSEM, Submission 155, pages [4–5]; NAC, Submission 180, p. [5]; Multicultural Australia, Submission 182, p. 6, p. 19; Yilabara Solutions, Submission 231, p. 15.

[169]See, for example, Dr Nevile, Submission 136, p. 4; Queensland Government: Department of Employment, Small Business and Training, Submission 243, pages 10–11; Tasmanian Government, Submission 174, p. 4.

[170]SYC, Submission 178, p. 7.

[171]See, for example, ALGA, Submission 172, p. [2]; MatchWorks, Submission 263, p. 9; Prospert, Submission 301, pages 1 and 2; Ms W Black, BCA, Committee Hansard, 11 August 2023, p. 16.

[172]See, for example, Workskil, Submission 196, pages 24–25; Asuria, Submission 246, pages 12–14; MrMatthew Clarke, CEO, Yilabara Solutions, Committee Hansard, 26 May 2023, p. 47; Mr Kieran Kearney, CEO, Workways Australia Ltd (Workways), Committee Hansard, 6 June 2023, p. 26.

[173]See BSL, Submission 249, pages 30, 57; PRF, Submission 304, p.17.

[174]See DEWR, Submission 254, pages 46–48, 163–164, 165–166.

[175]See Ms Shannon, DSS, Committee Hansard, 26 May 2023, p. 6; DSS, Submission 191.1, pages [5-6].