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Monday, 10 November 2008
Page: 10460

Dr Southcott asked the Minister for Employment Participation, in writing, on 2 September 2008:

Will the Department continue to offer Better Connections Workshops for mature age job seekers; if not, will the Better Connections Workshops be replaced with an alternative program.

Mr Brendan O’Connor (Minister for Employment Participation) —The answer to the honourable member’s question is as follows:

Better Connections workshops were held over three years commencing on 1 July 2005 and concluding on 30 June 2008. There is no commitment to continue the Better Connections Workshops.

The objective of the workshops was to improve labour market effectiveness by addressing local labour supply and skill shortage issues, increasing labour market participation, particularly of disadvantaged target groups and reducing unemployment.

Better Connections Workshops were not targeted to any specific disadvantaged groups, the workshops aimed to improve the employment outcomes for all unemployed including disadvantaged groups, in the local labour market.

Better Connections Workshops were a necessary part of the existing employment services system to enhance links between employment service providers and local industry.

From 1 July 2009, employment service providers in the new employment services will be required to have better connections with other employment services agencies and other government services. Employer Brokers will also assist employment service providers to have stronger linkages with employers, employer groups and industry associations in areas of skills and labour growth. Therefore, there is no requirement to continue the Better Connections Workshops.