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NFP and government discuss employment reforms

< 1 min read

Clare Martin from the Australian Council of Social Service (ACOSS) and David Thompson from Jobs Australia held talks with the Federal Minister for Employment Participation Brendan O’Connor, expressing reservations about the tender process for more than $4 billion worth of employment services, including whether NFP service providers had lost contracts to the for-profit providers.

In a recent speech on the issue, Minister O’Connor said that the reforms were designed to provide job seekers with more opportunities to acquire skills, as well as offering “flexible, personalised support to help them gain and keep a job.

“The reforms to employment services are the outcome of extensive consultations with job seekers, employers and employment service providers last year and they are long overdue,” he said.

However, ACOSS has said that many of the 650,000 Australians currently unemployed – particularly the long term unemployed – who are seeking the help of job services providers “could face major disruption and frustration in their search for work”.

Martin said “Our members are concerned that staff at services that have lost contracts will move to new providers well before the new system starts on 1 July 2009. This would create a staffing vacuum with providers struggling to deliver services to job seekers. We are asking the Government to ensure there is a smooth transition to the new system.”

Of the meeting with Minister O’Connor, Martin said “The Minister assured us that non-profit employment services providers have retained their market share and some non-profit providers will be expanding their operations. The Department has promised to conduct a comprehensive debriefing for all unsuccessful tenderers.”

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