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Govt To Introduce Individual Job Seeker Accounts

21 June 2002

Maharey: Govt To Introduce Individual Job Seeker Accounts

The government will pilot Individual Job Seeker Accounts this year, Social Services and Employment Minister Steve Maharey said today.

The new employment initiative means more flexible funding to support job seekers back into work. Individual Job Seeker Accounts will be established during the pilot programme for those taking part in the trial.

Steve Maharey said Individual Job Seeker Accounts are a further new and innovative way of moving job seekers off welfare and into sustainable paid work.

“Individual Job Seeker Accounts place the onus on the job seeker to take more responsibility for identifying, and participating in decisions about the most suitable form of assistance that will get them into sustainable employment.

“The aim is to move more people into independence through paid work, by ensuring that Government assistance encourages personal responsibility and builds self-confidence. We expect that this will prove to be not only an effective way of assisting job seekers to make the transition, but also an efficient use of tax payers money.

“The Labour-led government has shifted the focus of our welfare system so that beneficiaries are actively supported to move off welcome and into paid work. I hope that Individual Job Seeker Accounts will prove to be as successful as the other innovative approaches we have introduced including the focus on Making Work Pay, our strategy to get more beneficiaries into seasonal work and better case management and employment planning for sole-parent beneficiaries.

“Individual Job Seeker Accounts will contain an amount of money allocated to individual job seekers, but held by Work and Income, to use to access all forms of employment assistance to which the job seeker would otherwise be eligible. This may include programmes or services provided through Work and Income or other employment related assistance that they job seeker has identified, such as through a training provider. Wage subsidies or other post placement support may also be available.

“There is plenty of overseas evidence to suggest that initiatives such as these work, and there is clearly a large measure of support for this kind of approach from those working with unemployed job seekers in the community,” Steve Maharey said.

Individual Job Seeker Accounts will be piloted in two Work and Income regions over the next 12 months.


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