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Community, Employment Relations

Final public hearings: Workforce Australia Employment Services Committee

Parliament of Australia 2 mins read

The Select Committee on Workforce Australia Employment Services will conduct its final public hearings on Tuesday 19 September and Wednesday 20 September 2023 in Canberra. The Committee will hear directly from individuals with lived experience of employment services and their representatives, as well as from academic and policy experts, peak bodies, and government agencies.

The hearings will focus on the experiences of individuals with lived experience of the system—including older Australians—and their views on options for reform. The Committee will also specifically examine Work for the Dole and community and social programs.

Committee Chair, Mr Julian Hill MP, said “It is absolutely critical that we give voice to the experience of unemployed people. People with lived experiences of the system and those that support and advocate for them have unique insights into what works and what needs to change. The Committee will also hear from specific cohorts of jobseekers—including older Australians—to help ensure that reforms to employment services respond to the needs of an increasingly diverse community.”

“The Committee continues to hear concerns about what Work for the Dole has become. It’s nothing like it was when John Howard started it. Mounting evidence suggests that instead of helping people and making them more employable through skills acquisition and meaningful community projects, too often people are forced into demeaning ‘make work’ activities that distract from job searching, stigmatise people and harm their mental health. Society must be careful not to make people less employable by making people do pointless activities in unsafe conditions. The Committee will engage advocacy bodies, academic experts, providers, and social enterprise as part of its examination of what proper role social and community-based employment programs can play.”

“One day, soon, this inquiry will end and we will table our report near the end of the year. As the inquiry draws to a close, it is important for the Committee to re-engage with key peak bodies and research organisations which have provided academic and policy expertise, to consolidate views on key issues and potential options for reform.”

“The Committee will also examine more technical aspects of the employment services system, including measures to optimise online services and to better utilise data and market insights to improve services for jobseekers, employers, and other stakeholders.”

Further information about the inquiry, including Terms of Reference, future public hearings, published submissions and hearing transcripts, will be available on the inquiry website.

Public hearing details

19 September 2023

Time              1.30pm – 5.45pm (Canberra time)
Location        Committee Room 2R1, Parliament House, Canberra
Witnesses     Australian Unemployed Workers Union
Antipoverty Centre
Per Capita
Australian Council of Social Services
WISE Employment
Social Traders Ltd
Dr Kay Patterson AO, former Age Discrimination Commissioner
COTA Australia

20 September 2023

Time               8.30am – 4.15pm (Canberra time)
Location        Committee Room 2R1, Parliament House, Canberra
Witnesses     Brotherhood of St Laurence
Centre for Policy Development
University of Melbourne
Victorian Government
National Employment Services Association
Jobs Australia
Employment services participants
Australian Taxation Office
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations
Jobs and Skills Australia

A live audio broadcast of the hearing will be available via the Parliament’s Watch, Read, Listen website.

Media inquiries

Mr Julian Hill MP, Chair:  (03) 9791 7770

For background information

Committee Secretariat: (02) 6277 2220

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