Australian Government, 2007–08 Budget

Employment and Workplace Relations

Centrelink Financial Information Service — improved advice on compensation payments

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.5 0.9 0.6 0.6

The Government will provide $2.6 million over four years to improve the financial advice given to Centrelink customers who receive a compensation payment with an economic loss component and are precluded from receiving income support for a period of time. The financial advice will assist people to better manage their compensation payments over the time of their preclusion period.

This funding will be provided to Centrelink for the delivery of the financial advice.

Job Capacity Assessment — reinforcing the role

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 1.3 0.4 .. -0.7
Department of Human Services 0.1 - - -
Department of Education, Science and Training .. 0.1 0.1 0.1
Total 1.5 0.5 0.1 -0.5
Related capital ($m)
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.4 - - -

The Government will provide $3.5 million over four years (including $0.4 million in capital) to clarify and reinforce the role of Job Capacity Assessment providers in assessing work capacity and informing the decision to grant income support entitlements. The Social Security Act 1991 will be amended to ensure that decisions made by the Social Security Appeals Tribunal or the Administrative Appeals Tribunal take into account evidence of work capacity. This will create a more consistent approach between the decision to grant income support and the review of these decisions.

Funding will provide for changes required to IT systems, legal advice associated with the required legislative amendments and staff to implement this measure. This funding will be partially offset by an expected reduction in administered payments of $1.6 million over four years, with a net cost of $1.9 million.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $0.6 million in 2007-08, $0.2 million in 2008-09, $0.3 million in 2009-10 and $0.4 million in 2010-11.

Labour assistance package — expansion of the South Australian automotive workers labour adjustment fund

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.8 0.6 - -

The Government will provide $1.5 million over three years (including $0.2 million in 2006-07) to continue the measure South Australian automotive workers – labour adjustment fund included in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2005-06 and extend the fund’s coverage to new General Motors Holden redundancies announced on 5 March 2007.

The labour assistance package provides retrenched workers with immediate and full access to Job Network services, enhanced access to the Job Seeker Account, relocation assistance and self-employment assistance under the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme.

Further information can be found in the press release of 5 March 2007 issued by the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations.

Labour assistance package — ACL Bearings

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.1 .. - -

The Government will provide $0.2 million over three years (including $56,000 in 2006-07) to assist employees of ACL Bearings in Launceston, Tasmania, affected by a restructuring of its workforce.

The labour assistance package provides retrenched workers with immediate access to Job Network services to assist them in finding work, with eligibility for Intensive Support job search training. The Job Seeker Account for each of these workers will be supplemented by $1,000 to assist Job Network members to pay for training, clothing and equipment for work or job interviews and to assist workers to relocate for new jobs.

Further information can be found in the press release of 14 March 2007 issued by the Minister for Workforce Participation.

Labour assistance package — supplementary funding for the South Australian labour adjustment package

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.5 0.3 0.2 -

The Government will provide an additional $2.3 million over four years (including $1.4 million in 2006-07) as supplementary funding for the measure Labour market and structural adjustment assistance — South Australia assistance package included in the Mid-Year Economic and Fiscal Outlook 2004-05. This funding will ensure support for workers being retrenched from Mitsubishi Motors Australia’s South Australian manufacturing operations.

The labour adjustment package provides retrenched workers with immediate access to Job Network services and other assistance to help them find new jobs. Assistance will include wage subsidies, relocation assistance and self-employment assistance under the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme.

Mobility Allowance — expanding eligibility criteria

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 2.6 2.8 2.8 2.9

The Government will expand the eligibility criteria for Mobility Allowance, which provides assistance with travel costs for people whose disability means they cannot use public transport, at an estimated cost of $11.1 million over four years.

Currently, Mobility Allowance is paid at a standard rate of $74.30 per fortnight or at a higher rate of $104.00 per fortnight for people with part-time participation requirements undertaking an eligible activity. This measure will expand the number of people eligible for the higher rate of payment by extending eligibility to Parenting Payment recipients and Supported Wage System workers (those who have reduced productivity related to their disability).

Participation in Vocational Rehabilitation Services to find employment will also be added as an eligible activity for receipt of the Mobility Allowance payment.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $0.9 million in 2007-08 and $0.2 million per annum over the following three years.

Parenting Payment — expanded access to supplementary concessions

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 1.6 0.6 0.7 0.7

The Government will expand access to a number of supplementary concessions for Parenting Payment recipients at an estimated cost of $3.7 million over four years.

Currently, Parenting Payment (Single) recipients assessed with a partial work capacity due to disability have access to the Pensioner Concession Card and associated allowances. This access will be extended to Parenting Payment (Partnered) recipients, with a partial work capacity due to disability, from 1 January 2008.

In addition, all Parenting Payment recipients assessed with a partial work capacity due to disability will have access to the Pensioner Concession Card for 52 weeks after they earn sufficient income to move off income support.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $1.5 million in 2007-08, $0.2 million in 2008-09, $0.2 million in 2009-10 and $0.2 million in 2010-11.

Personal Support Programme — additional places

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 2.8 4.4 4.2 4.4

The Government will provide $15.8 million over four years to expand the Personal Support Programme (PSP) by 2,000 places. The PSP provides individualised assistance for the unemployed who face multiple non-vocational barriers to participation such as homelessness, drug and alcohol problems, psychological disorders, or domestic violence. The PSP acts as a bridge between short-term crisis assistance and employment-related assistance.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $0.2 million in 2007-08 and $0.2 million in 2008-09 to manage referrals.

Relocation assistance for job seekers — expanded pilot

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.5 - - -

The Government will provide $0.5 million in 2007-08 to continue for a further year the current relocation assistance for job seekers pilot operated by Job Network.

The pilot will be expanded to relocate up to 80 job seekers from Coffs Harbour, Nowra and two other locations with high unemployment to areas of high labour demand. The pilot currently operates in Coffs Harbour and Nowra. Assistance up to a maximum of $5,000 per eligible job seeker will be available to assist with expenses associated with relocating to take up employment.

Skills surveys — expansion

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 1.5 1.5 1.5 1.5

The Government will provide $6.0 million over four years to expand skills surveys to provide labour market data covering new industries and specific regional locations. Information from these surveys is used by employers, industry associations and all levels of government to identify possible areas of skills shortages. The expansion of skills surveys will complement the existing skills surveys that are based on occupations at the national level.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Disability Employment Network — additional places

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 10.2 10.5 9.3 9.9

The Government will provide $39.8 million over four years to increase the number of places available in the capped programmes of Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Disability Employment Network. An additional 1,480 places will be provided in Vocational Rehabilitation Services and an additional 987 places in the Disability Employment Network each year, taking the total places available in these programmes to 24,680 and 38,987 respectively.

Both programmes assist job seekers who have a moderate to high level of disability and require specialist assistance to find and retain employment. Services include employment preparation, job search, placement into employment and workplace modifications including specialised or adaptive equipment to accommodate an employee with a disability. The Disability Employment Network also provides an intensive level of support once a person is placed into employment including job-specific training for the worker, co-workers and supervisors.

Vocational Rehabilitation Services and the Disability Employment Network — eligibility for adult prisoners with a disability

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.6 0.3 0.1 0.1
Related capital ($m)
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.1 - - -

The Government will extend access to Vocational Rehabilitation Services and Disability Employment Network places to adult prisoners with a disability in pre-release centres who are available for work on partial or full day release, at an estimated cost of $1.3 million over four years.

This measure will ensure that day release prisoners with a disability that limits their working capacity to 15‑29 hours per week will have access to specialised disability employment services to help them find jobs. Currently, prisoners have access only to Job Network services while on day release. Approximately 150 prisoners per year are expected to benefit from this measure.

This measure includes $0.1 million in capital funding in 2007-08 for an IT systems upgrade.

Work for the Dole — increasing the use of training credits

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 2.4 2.5 3.0 3.5
Related capital ($m)
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.1 - - -

The Government will provide $11.4 million over four years to establish a new $500 incentive payment from 1 July 2007 for Community Work Coordinators to encourage the use of training credits by Work for the Dole participants.

Work for the Dole participants are eligible for training credits up to the value of $800, which can be used to purchase accredited education or training to improve their employment opportunities. This measure will encourage Community Work Coordinators to identify training opportunities for Work for the Dole participants in courses relevant to their placement or in an area of skill demand.

This measure includes $0.1 million in capital funding in 2007-08 for an IT systems upgrade.

Work for the Dole — standardising early access to training credits

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.3 0.4 0.4 0.4
Related capital ($m)
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.1 - - -

The Government will provide $1.7 million over four years to standardise access to Work for the Dole training credits from 1 July 2008. Training credits assist Work for the Dole participants to enrol in, and pay for, relevant accredited training courses of their choice.

Work for the Dole participants have partial access to training credits during their placement and access to the full training credit on completion. This measure will align the requirements for access to partial training credits for part-time participants to those of full-time participants. Part-time participants will now be able to access partial training credits after 150 hours of Work for the Dole participation.

This measure will provide equity of access to training credits for all Work for the Dole participants and will streamline the Work for the Dole programme’s administration.

This measure includes $0.1 million in capital funding in 2007-08 to make changes required to IT systems.

Workers’ compensation — management of asbestos and other dust diseases

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations - - - -

The Government will provide $2.0 million in 2006-07 to manage specific statute-based claims for workers’ compensation in relation to asbestos-related and other dust diseases.

This funding is expected to cover the settlement, legal and administration costs associated with claims assumed by the Commonwealth following the abolition of the Stevedoring Industry Finance Committee in 2005.

Workplace Relations Reform — continuation of the WorkChoices Employer Advisor Programme

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 10.1 - - -

The Government will provide an additional $18.1 million over two years (including $8.0 million in 2006-07) to continue the WorkChoices Employer Advisor Programme until 31 December 2007.

The Employer Advisor Programme developed a national network of industry-based advisors to assist and support employers and their staff on WorkChoices, including in relation to changes to the WorkChoices legislation. The extended programme utilises the specific knowledge and experience of a panel of employer and industry organisations to provide practical WorkChoices assistance tailored for employers and their staff across Australia.

Further information can be found in the press release of 21 March 2007 issued by the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations.

Workplace Relations Reform — reinforcing the regional network of the Office of Workplace Services

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Office of Workplace Services 12.2 8.0 1.2 -
Related capital ($m)
Office of Workplace Services - - - -

The Government will provide $46.3 million over four years (including $25.0 million in 2006-07) to support the Office of Workplace Services’ (OWS) compliance and enforcement activities in regional areas and to help ensure employers and employees understand their rights and responsibilities under WorkChoices.

The OWS has 200 inspectors in 27 centres across Australia and the additional funding will reinforce the operation of the OWS regional offices.

This measure includes $17.3 million in capital funding in 2006-07 for office fit-out associated with the expanded regional network and to develop an IT application to manage claims and infringements.

Youth Allowance — participation requirements for payment eligibility

Expense ($m)
2007-08 2008-09 2009-10 2010-11
Department of Employment and Workplace Relations 0.5 0.1 0.1 0.1
Department of Education, Science and Training -0.3 -0.7 -0.7 -0.7
Total 0.2 -0.6 -0.6 -0.6

The Government will ensure that Youth Allowance (other) recipients with participation requirements are paid only from the date they apply as a job seeker and commence their engagement with a provider of Australian Government employment services. This will encourage young people transferring to Youth Allowance (other) from Youth Allowance (student) to quickly link to assistance for job searching when they stop full-time study.

This measure is expected to lead to net savings of $1.6 million over four years.

This measure includes funding for Centrelink of $0.5 million in 2007-08 and $0.1 million per annum over the following three years.