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Wednesday, 8 December 2004
Page: 74

Senator PATTERSON (Minister for Family and Community Services and Minister Assisting the Prime Minister for Women's Issues) (3:03 PM) —Yesterday I undertook to get back to Senator Greig with some information on a question he asked about Centrelink and the Job Network. Minister Hockey has provided me with a response to the question he asked yesterday. I am advised that there has been an increased focus on referrals by Centrelink of the job seekers to whom he was referring, in line with government directions. It is a natural consequence that there will be an increased focus on offering a range of services to all customers who are able to participate in the work force. Centrelink is, therefore, working closely with the Department of Employment and Workplace Relations and the Job Network to increase participation opportunities. Centrelink staff have been and remain committed to offering disability support pension and parenting payment customers the opportunity of a voluntary referral to a Job Network member for assistance. Centrelink offers the benefits of the Job Network to these customers and interviews with Centrelink specialist officers. Participation is completely voluntary for parenting payment and DSP customers.

Customers with a disability are advised of all forms of employment assistance. This includes specialised disability employment services. Suitability is determined through the job seeker classification instrument, otherwise known as the JSCI. Based on customer information revealed through the JSCI, they may be referred to a Centrelink disability officer, a psychologist or a social worker for a secondary assessment. These customers may choose to attend a specialist disability employment service if they are eligible to do so. Customers who receive a disability support pension may choose to end their participation with a Job Network provider and change to a specialist disability employment provider due to the voluntary nature of their participation.