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From July 4th, the Australian federal government will be transitioning nearly 800,000 Australians out of Jobactive – their main employment services program – to a new program called Workforce Australia.

These changes have been in the works for a while. They were developed following a 2019 Senate committee which deemed Jobactive “punitive and not fit for purpose”. There is some confusion around the new program, but it’s actually quite straightforward and should potentially alleviate some of the issues with the old system.

One of the key components of Jobactive was the requirement for jobseekers to submit 20 applications per month in order to quality for their welfare payments. The problem with this system is that it has led to candidates applying en masse for jobs they aren’t qualified for and have no interest in.

Here at ALRA, we have seen many applications in the past that literally say things like “I know I’m not right for this job but I need to make the application in order to receive my jobseeker payment”, or similar sentiments.

The new program – Workforce Australia – is based around a points system, in which jobseekers need to accrue 100 points per month to qualify for payments. The difference is that there are several ways that points can be accrued (not just job applications) as the table below shows.

TaskPoints earned on completion
Job application5 points
Online learning modules5 points (maximum of 5 points per month)
Attending a job interview 20 points

Workforce Australia will also feature two streams – an online portal and a face-to-face service which will provide career guidance, mentoring, work experience and more.

Of course, it remains to be seen how effective the new system will be and many people are feeling concerned around the lack of communication on the logistics of it so far. However, we are hopeful that Workforce Australia might help focus jobseekers more on areas that they are interested in and passionate about, in addition to rewarding those who are going to interviews and encouraging further training and education. 

Jobseekers will soon have more options than having to send out 20 applications every month, which has proven to be ineffective and fatiguing for them; not to mention clogging up the job market with non-serious applications.