Less red tape, more jobs AMES conference told
AMES is well placed to help the federal government deliver improved outcomes and efficiencies in the provision of employment and settlement services, the 2014 staff conference has heard.
Two key federal government figures – Assistant Minister for Employment Luke Hartsuyker and Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Social Services Senator Concetta Fierravanti-Wells – both addressed the conference last week, outlining the government’s plans to cut red tape, reinvigorate the ‘work for the dole’ scheme and get more people in to work.
The conference also heard a large number of humanitarian refugees would begin arriving in Australia early next year.
Minister Hartsuyker said employment was a priority for the government. “Our priorities are growing a strong and prosperous economy and we are committed to helping people move from welfare to work,” he said.
“We want a better job services system that focuses on getting more people into work. Our future depends on having as many people as possible in work and contributing.”
Minister Hartsuyker said the current system was holding back organisations like AMES.
“The JSA system is mired in red tape. We want a simpler system that rewards performance and eliminating red tape will reduce the cost base,” he said, adding that few employers were currently using JSA.
“We need to start to work more with employers and we are committed to providing a quality service that removes the barriers for employers,” Minister Hartsuyker said.
He said the next round of contracts would be less restrictive and would provide more opportunity for innovation and new thinking.
“Improving language and literacy skills is a good investment. And we will be re-invigorating the ‘work for the dole’ scheme and providing more exposure to work situations to increase employability.
“You’ll see a different style of support from government with cuts to red tape; red tape reforms have so far saved $23 million.
“The government is committed to a quality service for refugees and migrants but we are open-minded about how we do that. AMES is well placed to help us deliver these reforms,” Minister Hartsuyker said.
“I’m pleased to see people being encouraged to take up job opportunities even if they’re somewhere else. Work provides people with a sense of identity and purpose.
“People in employment feel more strongly that they are part of the Australian community and it’s a way of giving back,” Minister Hartsuyker said. He said that since 2009 there had been 16,000 job placements for migrants.
Senator Fierravanti-Wells told the conference that the government was committed to providing world-class settlement services and that successful partnerships were the key.
“Last year I was pleased to undertake site visits to AMES in western Melbourne. I witnessed first-hand your professional and dedicated staff. I saw real pride and a positive environment of engagement,” she said.
“AMES is a very solid example of how to build partnerships with other community organisations. Partnerships are essential if government programs are to be implemented successfully,” the Senator said, citing AMES’ partnership with the ACCOR Hotel group as a great example of innovative job placement schemes.
“AMES clients are among the most vulnerable people – newly arrived migrants and refugees.
“We have a common goal – the successful settlement of clients so they can contribute to Australian society.
“The government is committed to improving employment outcomes for refugees… and providing services and policies that respond to people’s needs,” Senator Fierravanti-Wells said.
She said the restructure of commonwealth departments would provide synergies to improve outcomes in education and employment.
The Senator said AMES was well placed to “deliver connected services that meet the individual needs of your clients”.
The 2014 AMES Conference was attended by more than 700 staff, stakeholders and sector leaders.