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New Job Network to replace the CES [Commonwealth Employment Service]

More than 300 private, community and government organisations will replace the Commonwealth Employment Service (CES), on May 1, 1998, the Minister for Employment, Dr David Kemp, announced today.

At least 306 organisations will form the new, nationwide Job Network. They will cover every region in Australia with about 1400 sites providing employment services. This is more than four times the number of sites under the CES system.

The Government contracted out the total funding of employment services ($1.7 billion) to replace the CES with a new, competitive market. About a third of the market has gone to organisations from each of the private, community and government sectors. Of the 306 Job Network organisations, 153 are private, 134 are community and 19 are government.

The Job Network member organisations were selected from more than 1000 organisations after a comprehensive and highly competitive public tender, carried out in the past six months. It was the largest public tender of human services in Australia's history.

Job Network members include Employment National (the Government-owned corporation) The Salvation Army, Drake Employment Services Pty Ltd, Mission Australia, Job Futures Ltd, Centacare Australia Ltd, The Hospitality Training Company Australia Pty Ltd, and Work Directions Australia Pty Ltd. There are a further 298 Job Network members.

Dr Kemp said the introduction of the new Job Network was a world-leading social reform that would greatly improve the chances of unemployed people getting a job.

" Job Network will get more unemployed people into jobs," Dr Kemp said.

"An overhaul of employment services was needed because the old system under the CES simply didn't get enough people into jobs. It tended to 'manage' unemployed people rather than place them in jobs.

" Job Network focuses on results. Job Network members will be paid when they place a job seeker in a job for a sustained period of time. These incentives will help ensure unemployed people get jobs and are no longer churned through programs that, sadly, in the past, have often led back to the unemployment queue."

Benefits under the new Job Network include:

. access for job seekers to tens of thousands of additional job vacancies (through the touchscreen national job vacancy database at Centrelink offices) compared with the CES, which only had about 20% of all job vacancies

. more than four times as many sites for employment services across Australia compared with the CES

. strong financial incentives to place long-term unemployed people in jobs

. improved quality of service due to competition between Job Network members

. choice for job seekers and employers of one or more Job Network members that best suit their needs

. services tailored to individual client needs

. improved access to free computers, facsimiles and telephones at Centrelink offices to help job seekers prepare applications and apply for jobs

The Job Network will provide services under five categories:

. Job Matching

. Job Search Training

. Intensive Assistance

. NEIS (New Enterprise Incentive Scheme) - helping unemployed people with an idea for a viable business start their own business

. New Apprenticeship Centres

All job seekers will have access to improved and expanded employment services, including the touchscreen national job vacancy database, and free computers, facsimiles and telephones (at Centrelink offices) to prepare applications and apply for jobs.

Dr Kemp said the large number of organisations that tendered for the $1.7 billion in funding meant an outstanding group of organisations had been chosen to help unemployed people get jobs.

"The network includes an excellent mix of new players and established organisations," Dr Kemp said.

"The private and community sectors have done particularly well in the tender, gaining about two-thirds of the market. They will bring a wealth of expertise and new ideas to the field of publicly-funded employment services.

"The result is a better deal for job seekers, employers and the Australian community."

The Government will monitor the performance of Job Network members and make public information about their performance.

The Job Network members have been contracted for 19 months from May 1, 1998. Another public tender will be held in 1999 for the second contract period following the initial 19-month period.

A national information campaign, including an information hotline (1300 363 365) begins this evening and will continue until after May 1, 1998, to inform job seekers, employers and the wider community of the changes and improved services.

The total number of Job Network organisations may increase slightly in the next few weeks as the last few contracts are finalised.

Media inquiries:

Michael Smith, 02 6277 7460

Information kits including a list of Job Network members, can be obtained by phoning the Communications Unit on (02) 6240 8532, or from the DEETYA internet site at http://www.deetya.gov.au