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Monday, 19 March 2018
Page: 1532


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister for Jobs and Innovation) (21:39): Under the new framework, jobseekers with circumstances affecting their ability to meet their requirements will benefit from more robust assessments of their circumstances and capabilities to ensure that the requirements that they have to meet are actually appropriate to that particular individual. There will also be mandated assessments, generally, as you know, when a jobseeker incurs both a third and fourth demerit. Principal carer parents and those in disability employment services are generally more compliant than most jobseekers and, as a result, will actually benefit from the arrangements and the personal responsibility phase. These jobseekers will benefit from the new tools to manage their requirements and greater flexibility in scheduling or rescheduling their appointments.

Additional safeguards are in place for vulnerable jobseekers. Vulnerable jobseekers are identified on the IT systems used by employment providers and the Department of Human Services by a vulnerability indicator, which ensures that providers and Department of Human Services staff are aware that the jobseeker's personal circumstances may impact on their capacity to meet their requirements. A vulnerability indicator does not exempt a jobseeker from their requirements or from being subject to compliance action if they do not meet them, but it must be considered when deciding whether or not an activity is actually appropriate for the particular jobseeker. Identified vulnerabilities are also carefully taken into consideration when a determination is made about whether the person has a reasonable excuse under social security law and, therefore, whether a penalty or a suspension should be applied.

In terms of jobseekers who disclose barriers of their own accord—as is currently the case, a comprehensive range of support responses will continue to apply for jobseekers who disclose barriers. Those responses may range from altering the expectation of jobseekers in light of their barriers through to assistance with emergency accommodation. Employment services providers, both Jobactive and DES, may enlist the support of allied health professionals and the Department of Human Services, which can provide assistance with access to alternative benefit payments where appropriate, referral for emergency accommodation and access to social workers. Under the new framework, earlier identification of barriers will allow better tailoring of requirements to jobseekers' circumstances and early referral for assessment for other existing support, if appropriate.