The various reviews into employment services and related areas shows that for disadvantaged job seekers, in particular people with disabilities who have high support needs, the current system has not delivered improved employment outcomes.
This submission is premised on the view that all Australians have a right to live a decent life, which we define as being able to access appropriate food, clothing and healthcare; safe and secure housing; meaningful work, education, rest and enjoyment; and the opportunity to participate in and contribute to communities.
Australia’s response to climate change is fundamentally an issue of justice and equity, both within Australia and across the community of nations. Scientific evidence of climate change (as summarised in the Garnaut report) makes a compelling case that failure to achieve deep reductions in global emissions would be a humanitarian disaster. Stabilisation of greenhouse gasses at the more ‘pragmatic’ level of around 550ppm is unlikely to avoid dangerous levels of climate change in Australia, or protect vulnerable nations and communities around the world.
UnitingCare Australia recognises that uncontrolled climate change would raise significant moral and distributional issues, and supports Australia playing a leading role in global action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Australia’s existing employment services system was formulated in a time when unemployment was upwards of nine per cent and geared to those circumstances. In the current booming economy, the employment market is fundamentally different and UnitingCare Australia believes a completely new model of employment service delivery needs to be adopted by Government to address the multiple barriers and provide the various supports required to assist the remaining three to four per cent of Australians left unemployed into sustained employment. These multiple barriershave similar characteristics i.e. social dislocation, high levels of discrimination and poor education outcomes and are experienced within a complex variety of specific geographical, cultural and social contexts.
The recommendations contained within this paper include a preferred model of service delivery which will deal structurally with issues currently impacting the government funded employment service arrangements. The model is part of an integrated representation of the reality of employment support for Australians, particularly those suffering significant disadvantage and have multiple barriers to employment.
Overall, the major changes in the labour market during the past five years have been positive for workers with disabilities. These changes can be attributed to the dual phenomenon of ageing in the population, and continuing economic growth, both of which increase labour demand. The Australian context is characterised by low inflation, consecutive years of economic growth averaging 4% per annum, successive surpluses in both Federal and State budgets, low official unemployment at 4.5% and anecdotal reports of emerging shortages of both skilled and unskilled workers in most industries (Waghorn et al., 2007).
The UnitingCare housing network discussed the call from FACSIA for information on models to increase the supply of social housing. In responding to this call the network was very concerned that FACSIA had not addressed the underlying principles and policy considerations which underpin any project undertaken in this area.
The Australian Fair Pay Commission (AFPC) is the latest institution to be created by the Commonwealth Government in the industrial relations arena and is one of the key pillars of the Workplace Relations Amendment (Work Choices) Act 2005, No 153.