JobSeeker Payments and Mutual Obligation requirements

  1. Changes to DES
  2. Mutual obligation suspensions for Workforce Australia and recent flooding in NSW
  3. ACOSS response to recently-announced changes to the new Workforce Australia system
  4. Transition to Workforce Australia and PBAS
  5. Obtaining JobSeeker and other Centrelink payments
  6. Help with Centrelink and employment services issues
  7. Mutual obligation snapshots
  8. ACOSS advocacy on Mutual Obligations and New Employment Services
  9. Mutual obligations in the pandemic and other disasters

Changes to DES update 24 August 2022

52 DES providers having their services reduced or discontinued as a result of a mid contract business review process. This has resulted in:

  • 44 will have at least one of their DES services discontinued
  • 8 will have all of their DES services discontinued.

The DES providers were assessed using the DES Star Ratings system. This measures how well providers perform placing participants in sustainable, longer‑term employment.

Affected DES participants will receive a text message and letter telling them that their DES provider will not deliver services in their area anymore.

They will be asked to choose a new provider in their area who can provide a better quality service.

Participants will be supported by their current DES provider until they transfer to a new provider.

If these participants have mutual obligations, these will be suspended from 22 August 2022 to 23 October 2022 (inclusive). This will give affected participants time to start working with their new provider.

More information here.


Mutual obligation suspensions for Workforce Australia and recent flooding in NSW

Update 1 August 2022

In a welcome development, compliance action for not meeting Points-based Activation targets has been suspended for another reporting period, to enable the smooth transition to the new systems and reporting requirements until the end of August 2022.

They have also been suspended in some NSW LGAs due to recent flooding.

Find out more about how the suspension of Mutual Obligations might affect you here.


ACOSS response to recently-announced changes to the new Workforce Australia system.

Workforce Australia replaced jobactive on 1 July 2022. There were a range of changes to Workforce Australia and PBAS announced by the Minister which ACOSS welcomed. We see them as good first steps in reforming a seriously flawed system.

The new system includes a new Points Based Activation System, as well as online employment services for people closer to employment.

Read more about ACOSS’s views on the changes announced by Minister Burke on PBAS and Workforce Australia here.

Obtaining JobSeeker and other Centrelink payments

Job seeker payment

If you lose employment, you can find out which payment applies to you on the Services Australia ‘How to get a payment’ page, and apply for income support online through MyGov. MyGov may have delays, please try again later if you cannot get through.
We know many people do not have online access – the phone number for accessing the JobSeeker Payment is 132 850.

Before applying in person at a Centrelink office, consider the COVID-19 health restrictions in your state/territory.


Help with Centrelink and employment services issues

There are organisations that can advise and support you if you’re having problems with your income support payment or employment service. Unfortunately, ACOSS is unable to provide advice and support in individual cases.

For legal help with Centrelink payments, visit Economic Justice Australia’s webpage

If you’re facing financial hardship or mental health issues, there are services that can help:

Mutual obligations during the pandemic and other disasters

When communities are affected by extreme weather events, natural disasters and pandemics such as COVID-19, the federal Government suspends mutual obligation requirements for a period of time. These mutual obligation suspensions are listed on the jobsearch.gov.au/mor webpage.

Mutual obligation suspensions usually mean that penalties for not completing mutual obligation requirements under the Targeted Compliance Framework do not apply. However, it is always important to check what requirements apply to you on the job seeker dashboard, or by checking with your provider, the Digital/National Customer Service Line on 1800 805 260.

When Mutual Obligation suspensions are lifted, regular job search and other mutual obligation requirements return.

If you are unable to attend an appointment, activity or meet a job search target, please contact your provider before the date it is due. Providers should be exercising COVID-safe practices and taking into account your situation and labour market conditions when setting requirements for you.

In particular, you should be able to practice COVID safety precautions such as attending COVID testing and self-isolating as required. However, it is important that you contact your provider if you are unable to attend or meet a requirement because of the impact of observing COVID safety precautions before it is due.

There are complex rules in every state depending on the Health Orders that employment services providers should be following in relation to the provision of face-to-face services. If you are unable to meet employment services requirements due to your vaccination status you may be eligible to apply for a medication exemption. Please read this fact sheet for more information. Job Seeker Participant – return to face to face servicing factsheet

Please let [email protected] know if you encounter any issues in this regard.

For updates, check this Government webpage: https://jobsearch.gov.au/mor