Clean slate and more flexibility for job seekers

The Albanese Labor Government is making changes to the new employment services system so job seekers will start with a clean slate and have more flexibility in how they choose to get job ready.

Workforce Australia will replace jobactive on July 4. Under jobactive, participants had to complete 20 job applications as a mutual obligation in return for income support.

The Government supports mutual obligation but jobactive was a rigid system that all too often resulted in job seekers applying for work they were not suited to, wasting their time and the time of employers.

Workforce Australia will instead centre around a points-based activation system that will give participants more choice and control over how they meet their mutual obligation.

The previous federal government locked in the points system – and signed more than $7 billion worth of contracts with providers – shortly before the election. But it never properly explained the new system to the Australian people.

That’s one of the reasons the new Government is implementing a “clean slate” policy, meaning people who have accrued penalties or demerits under the old system will start over under the new one.

A new system means a fresh start.

This decision will give participants a number of months to adjust to the new system with little risk of financial penalty.

I have also worked with my department to make other immediate changes, including:

• Increasing the points value attached to a number of the activities that help people get job ready and move into secure jobs (see attached).

• Ensuring that someone participating in full-time study or training that improves their long term job prospects is not putting their qualifications at risk. This includes ensuring that vulnerable individuals will have no job search requirements if they are undertaking approved short full-time courses.

• Reducing the new minimum job search requirement from 5 to 4 per month.

• Reducing the points target for some participants to better recognise personal circumstances and weak labour market conditions that could impact their ability to find work.

These changes will provide real incentives for people who are making an extra effort to be job ready.

It is important to note that people who continue to do exactly what they did under the old system – apply for 20 jobs a month – will still meet their points requirements and therefore satisfy their mutual obligation.

Further guidance on the changes and the new arrangements will continue to be provided to those affected via their current jobactive inbox. Additional staff are also being deployed to the Digital Services Contact Centre to help anyone with questions or who needs support to adjust to the new arrangements.

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