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Australia – Job placements under government scheme plunge

11 June 2014

The number of work placements achieved by the federal government’s USD 1.4 billion Jobs Services Australia (JSA) programme fell by -25% over three years. An audit report published this week highlighted the significant decline in job placements from 480,000 in 2010/11 to 360,000 in 2012/13, but was unable to pinpoint the precise causes, reports The Guardian.

The programme, delivered by an estimated 85 contracted service providers, has a target of achieving 450,000 job placements a year.

The extent to which the decline was attributable to a reduction in programme performance or to external factors was unclear, the Australian National Audit Office (ANAO) report said.

The report called on the Department of Employment to improve its performance indicators and explanation of results, noting the programme costs would a total of USD 10 billion between 2009 and 2015.

The findings come as the federal government pursues tougher policies to ensure young people are “earning or learning”, and follow political debate over jobs in light of the closure of major manufacturing companies.

JSA was created by the former Labour government in July 2009 to help unemployed people find work.

The report said the Department of Employment had overall “appropriately managed the delivery” of the programme and “appropriate action was taken” in the event of poorer performance by providers.

The department has also committed to reducing the volume and frequency of change of operational guidelines to service providers, and improving its risk management practices.

In its response to the findings, and the call for better performance information, the department said it would review its public reporting approach as part of the employment services program arrangements from 2015.

“The department will endeavour to be more explicit about what the programme is intending to achieve, how it is influenced by external factors and how success is measured,” the report said.

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