ACOSS’s advocacy on Mutual Obligations and the New Employment Services

ACOSS advocates for a fairer system of mutual obligations and employment services and our current priorities for reform are in the ACOSS Budget Priorities briefing.

On this page we list some of our recent advocacy work and related publications and briefings.

Update 28 April

Read our briefing on advocacy on the Streamlined Participation Requirements and Other Measures (SPROM) Bill.

This advocacy resulted in legislative commitments to review the new employment services (called Workforce Australia) and mutual obligation requirements within 2 years of the commencement of the new model in July 2022. These commitments were included in amendments to the SPROM bill and the review will involve people directly affected as well as the organisations that work with, and represent them.

The advocacy also resulted in a commitment to implement a Digital protections framework for employment services programs and other improvements to protections for people who are required to use employment services.

Previous updates October 2021

When Mutual Obligations were restored after the COVID-19 related lockdowns, ACOSS wrote to the Minister and Department of Employment requesting that:
  • Mutual obligations and requirements to attend face to face meetings or activities should remain suspended during lockdowns and for at least a month after lockdowns are lifted
  • Any restoration of mutual obligations should be carefully phased, taking account of health restrictions and the state of labour markets at State and local levels (we note that default job search requirements were gradually built up to 4 then 10 per month last year, and do not believe requirements above this are appropriate in any case)
  • The phasing of obligations should be clearly communicated to all parties in a timely way
  • Face to face servicing in currently locked down areas should remain optional for the time being; Scheduled six-monthly and annual activities in the locked-down areas should be deferred.

Read more about the concerns ACOSS had when Mutual Obligations were restored in October 2021 in our briefing A new post-lockdown health hazard: Sudden reintroduction of unrealistic job search requirements and penalties.

Related information

ACOSS budget priorities

Mutual obligation snapshots

Mutual obligations during climate disasters and COVID

Further background on the New Employment Services Model/Workforce Australia

I Want to Work report

ACOSS Submission: Point-Based Activation in the New Employment Services

2018 ACOSS submission – new employment service payment model

ACOSS submission employment service licensing

ACOSS submission on the NESM Exposure Draft

ACOSS Submission on the SPROM Bill

ACOSS Submission on Future Employment Services