Note: Where available, the PDF/Word icon below is provided to view the complete and fully formatted document
 Download Current HansardDownload Current Hansard    View Or Save XMLView/Save XML

Previous Fragment    Next Fragment
Wednesday, 2 December 2015
Page: 9635

Employment


Senator SMITH (Western AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (14:27): My question is to the Minister for Employment, Senator Cash. Can the minister update the Senate on the ways the government is assisting young Australians into employment?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (14:27): I thank Senator Smith for the question. The government recognises that we need to provide assistance to support young Australians into employment and also to ensure that they have the skills and the support that they need to do this. One of the things that we have done as a government is to release our Growing Jobs and Small Business package. That makes it easier for small business to flourish. In particular, it makes it easier for job seekers, particularly young job seekers, to get work.

We also have a $300 million Youth Employment Strategy. This introduces new initiatives that provide incentives to employers because it is the employers who have the jobs. So it provides incentives to employers to take on unemployed job seekers. It also builds on young job seekers' employability skills because we know they sometimes need assistance in this regard. It also strengthens job seekers' obligations to reinforce the community expectation that young people should be doing all that they can to find themselves a job.

I have also recently been able to invite organisations to apply for funding under our new Empowering YOUth Initiatives. This is going to allow those organisations to deliver proposals that help young people, in particular those young people who are at risk of long-term unemployment. I have also invited not-for-profit community organisations to put forward proposals for innovative ideas to help vulnerable young Australians to not just find but also keep the jobs that they find. What we are looking at from these organisations are ideas that are slightly different approaches to those that are currently available. We are all about getting people into jobs and ensuring that, as a government, we provide them with the requisite tools to do this. (Time expired)


Senator SMITH (Western AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (14:30): Mr President, I ask a supplementary question. Can the minister advise the Senate how the Transition to Work service will help younger Australians find work?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (14:30): Thank you. We, on this side of the chamber, believe that the best form of welfare is a job and that is why, as a government, we are doing everything that we can to ensure that Australians are able to find work.

The Transition to Work service is specifically designed to help young people between the ages of 15 to 21 who are out of work and are not engaged in education. We are investing $322 million—so a significant investment—into the Transition to Work program to find the best organisations to deliver results for not just young people but the Australian taxpayer.

This service is going to provide intensive pre-employment support to improve the work readiness of young people and then help them into work or education. We know that young people are the future of our society and we need them to be in a job so that they can be productive. (Time expired)


Senator SMITH (Western AustraliaDeputy Government Whip in the Senate) (14:31): Mr President, I ask a further supplementary question. Can the minister advise the Senate how the National Work Experience program will help build skills younger Australians can use to find work?


Senator CASH (Western AustraliaMinister Assisting the Prime Minister for the Public Service, Minister for Employment and Minister for Women) (14:31): One of the things that the government is aware of is that employer surveys show that often insufficient work experience prevents many job seekers, but in particular young job seekers, from getting and then keeping a job. So on 1 October, we launched the National Work Experience program. The program aims to build the confidence and real-life work experience of job seekers so that we can better prepare them for what it is like to be in the workforce and ensure that employers' expectations are managed.

Employers who participate in the program, who go on to offer a young person paid employment after their placement, may be eligible to receive a wage subsidy of up to $6½ thousand over 12 months. The program is focused on getting young job seekers the right experience so that we can get them into sustainable employment.