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Tenders called for new universal Employment Services.

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The Hon Brendan O'Connor

Minister for Employment Participation

29 September, 2008

Media Release

Tenders called for new universal Employment Services

The Australian Government is now inviting tenders for the new $3.9 billion Employment Services which will begin on 1 July 2009.

The Minister for Employment Participation, Brendan O’Connor, said the Government had undertaken fundamental reform of employment services with the new services providing the right mix of training, work experience and other support to help job seekers find and keep work.

The current system is outdated and no longer suited to today’s labour market, which is characterised by lower unemployment, widespread skills shortages and a growing proportion of job seekers who are highly disadvantaged and long-term unemployed.

The new integrated services will provide tailored assistance for job seekers and focus on the most disadvantaged including those who are homeless or at risk of homelessness. There will also be a greater emphasis on helping employers find work-ready job seekers.

Mr O’Connor said the Rudd Government was delivering on its commitment to review employment services to ensure the delivery of better, more responsive and appropriately targeted employment services.

Key features of the employment services include:

• More resources dedicated to the most disadvantaged job seekers • The development of an Employment Pathway Plan which details the services tailored to a job seeker to help them secure employment • An Employment Pathway Fund to enable employment service providers to purchase

goods and services a job seeker needs to address their barriers to employment

• A stronger focus on ensuring Work Experience (including Work for the Dole and Green Corps) will provide job seekers with the skills and experience to gain sustainable jobs.

• Strengthening the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme with up to 18,900 small business training places being made available under the Productivity Places Program • A $41 million Innovation Fund for projects that address barriers to employment for groups of highly disadvantaged job seekers.

Employment service providers will be able to specialise in services for groups of job seekers such as youth, Indigenous, the homeless and those with mental illness.

Providers will also need to link in with community organisations and other levels of government to enable job seekers to access a range of assistance.

The development of the new services follows extensive consultation with employment service providers, employers, training organisations, welfare bodies and job seekers.

Mr O’Connor said a key feature of the new Employment Services is the significant reduction in red tape to ensure providers have more time to help job seekers.

Tenders close at 7pm on November 7 2008 with successful tenderers to be announced in March next year.

The Government has also introduced legislation into the Federal Parliament that will provide a more effective compliance system to support the new employment services.

Features of the new compliance system are a more work-like No Show No Pay penalty and the retention of the eight week non payment penalty for job seekers who are wilfully and persistently non-compliant.

The Request For Tender documentation is available from the AusTender website at Registration on AusTender is required for access to this documentation. Registration is not limited to tenderers. The tender number is DEEWR ESC 2009-12.

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