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Wednesday, 18 March 2015
Page: 2784


Mr WHITELEY (Braddon) (15:00): My question is to the Assistant Minister for Employment. Will the minister update the House on how the government's reforms to the employment services system are reducing red tape? And how will this reduced red tape allow providers to better support job seekers?

Mr HARTSUYKER (CowperDeputy Leader of the House and Assistant Minister for Employment) (15:01): I thank the member for his question and note his commitment to creating opportunities and jobs for the people he represents in the great state of Tasmania. And I can inform the House that when we came to government we inherited an employment services system that was mired in red tape, not meeting the needs of job seekers and not meeting the needs of employers. In fact, employment providers were telling me they were spending up to 50 per cent of their time filling out forms rather than doing what they were supposed to be doing: getting people into work.

I am pleased to report that we have already cut more than $30 million in red tape from the employment services system. We have allowed electronic record keeping, removing the need to keep duplicate paper records. We are using data matching with the Department of Human Services, dramatically reducing the need for providers to contact employers to verify employment—a saving of some $13.8 million in red tape. We have made changes to the reporting of noncompliance within the system, providing for $5.3 million in savings in red tape. And from 1 July there will be a new employment services system, a more streamlined system with less red tape and less paperwork. We will implement five-year contracts, a measure that has long been called for by the industry, dramatically reducing the amount of disruption that occurs when new contracts are let. We have streamlined the guidelines to provide simpler and clearer guidelines for providers, and we are providing for better use of information technology so that it is more effective for job seekers, more effective for employers and easier to use for providers.

As part of this reduction in red tape we are ensuring that safeguards remain so that the government money that is spent on this large government expenditure on employment services is appropriately safeguarded. A system with less red tape means that our employment service providers are spending more time with their clients and are better able to assist them on their journey from welfare to work. We are improving the system. Members opposite, when they had the opportunity back in 2012, squibbed it. They retained a system that clearly was not working as well as it should. We are not squibbing it. We are implementing a new system that will get more people from welfare into work.