Employment has been a major priority for the Albanese Government since it came to power in May 2022. Accordingly, it’s taken swift action with the Jobs and Skills Summit held in September and the subsequent consultation process for the Employment White Paper.

The Government is carefully balancing its election commitment to achieve and maintain full employment, while also responding to pressure from the business sector to fix skills shortages. The number of occupations experiencing skills shortages has almost doubled in the past year.

So what does the 2022 Budget mean for employment services?

According to the Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, The Hon Tony Burke MP, the Budget aims to support a system that “gets people ready for work while claiming Job Seeker, through employment programs that deliver value for money”. There’s also a focus on employment in regional areas and responses to the skills shortages across the country.

Here’s an overview of new investment and what’s on the chopping block.

The Budget has committed:

  • $19.4 million to support the work on a potential new model for disability employment. The Disability Employment Services (DES) program will be extended two years with a focus on improving service delivery and performance of providers.
  • $12.9 million over three years towards establishing a new agency called Jobs and Skills Australia (JSA) which replaces the National Skills Commission. The agency will work with governments, employers, and unions to focus on workforce planning and skills shortages.
  • $34.8 million to Workforce Australia to provide job seekers with an integrated experience. As a result, several programs, including Skills for Education and Employment, Self-Employment Assistance, and Harvest Trail Services will move to the Workforce Australia Digital Platform.
  • $25.8 million over four years for the Pacific Australia Labour Mobility (PALM) scheme. The aim is to expand the scheme, which allows businesses to hire workers from the Pacific Islands when there are labour gaps, making it more attractive for workers and employers.

Additional funding to support the increased permanent migration cap for this financial year from 160,000 to 195,000 which will help ease skills shortages. This includes $36.1 million across two years to fund staff in Home Affairs and $6.2 million for an international marketing campaign to promote migration to Australia.

In order to fund some of these initiatives, several programs are on the chopping block including the ReBoot program, Youth Jobs PaTH – Internships and the National Work Experience Program which will save $92.1 million over four years. In addition, the Mid-Career Checkpoint Pilot worth $56.2 million over two years and an advertising campaign for Workforce Australia valued at $4 million over two years have been cut.

One thing is certain. Change is the only thing that is constant right now in the employment services sector. Therefore, employment services providers must be at the top of their game, demonstrating value for money in a tight fiscal environment. There’s still time to make service improvements on DES programs before contracts end in June 2025. Get in touch with our team to find out how we can help.

More information: 2022-23 October Budget.