ACOSS plan for local action on job creation and skills to reduce unemployment

Australian Council of Social Service

Media Release

Wednesday 5th August 2020

The Australian Council of Social Services (ACOSS) proposes a new way to empower communities to grow local jobs and skills support that responds quickly to local needs – the creation of Local Employment and Skills Partnerships.

This is part of a wider set of policies that ACOSS has been advocating to generate jobs, lift Jobseeker and other payments so that people can meet basic living costs, and give people the guidance, skills and paid work experience they will need to secure jobs in a tough labour market.

Big national employment programs don’t always work as they should.

“ACOSS believes an innovative approach – local partnerships – is needed because the current employment services and training systems will struggle to meet the needs of the 1.6 million people on Jobseeker Payments.’’ ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said today

“In today’s volatile jobs environment, where jobs are fast disappearing and being replaced by different ones, people who are unemployed need paid work experience, career guidance and training to upskill and change careers,’’ ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie said today. “The 1.6 million people on the Jobseeker payment, especially the 700,000 people who are already unemployed long-term, will need all the help they can get to compete in a tough jobs market, and meet the basics in the meantime”

“Employment programs must be scaled up quickly in response to mass unemployment. When this happens there’s always a risk that schemes designed in Canberra don’t meet local needs.”

“National employment programs must respond better to the needs of individual unemployed people, local communities and local employers,” said ACOSS CEO Dr Cassandra Goldie. “Local Employment and Skills Partnerships can connect, guide and support local needs more effectively, without replacing national programs.”

Local employment and skills partnerships – what they would do

The proposed partnerships would be local regional advisory bodies that bring together local employers, unions, people who are unemployed and community services in cooperation with job service and training providers like Job Active and local TAFEs.

These local and dynamic networks would:

  • work with local government and communities to devise local strategies to create jobs and reduce unemployment,
  • map current and future job openings and the skills required, and make this information available to career counsellors in employment services and schools,
  • connect employment services, TAFEs and schools with employers to meet their workforce development needs,
  • provide feedback to governments on how employment and training programs are working (or not working) on the ground.

This proposal was developed by ACOSS, though it is informed by discussions with employer and union and community organisations and other experts in this area, including the Brotherhood of St Laurence and Centre for Policy Development, who have developed working models for local partnerships to assist young people and refugees (respectively) to secure employment.

“We know that people who are unemployed, and also many businesses and services across the country, are struggling to survive and adapt to COVID19, mass unemployment, and a collapse in consumer demand,” said Dr Goldie.

“With one job available for every 13 people looking for one, employers have less capacity to engage with multiple local employment services, programs and initiatives.”

“Just as communities worked together to overcome bushfires and COVID19, they want to work together now to support local people who are unemployed or struggling to sustain businesses and services. The proposed local partnerships offer a new way to do this.

“New challenges call for new solutions. ACOSS is putting forward our proposal for Local Employment & Skills Partnerships to the Australian Government, as part of our response to mass unemployment. This is part of a suite of proposals we’ve put to government, including decent income support for people affected by unemployment, investments needed to create good jobs quickly and a jobs and training guarantee for people unemployed long-term.” concluded Dr Goldie.


Download ACOSS Proposal
Accessible Version Here 

Media contact:  Carolin Wenzel   0419 626 155