B. Welfare reform
- B1. Mature Age Participation Pilot
- B2. Workless Families Assistance Pilot
- B3. Tailored Assistance for the Very Long-term Unemployed Pilot
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The Government will invest $6.7 million in 2000-01 to fund a number of pilots to trial approaches to increase economic or social participation of people on income support.
The pilots target various customer groups, including people with disabilities, workless families, mature age job seekers, long-term unemployed job seekers facing financial barriers to participating in the workforce.
They utilise a number of different strategies such as employment focussed interviews, early and more active intervention, better targeting of assistance, better linking of services, improved assessment tools and assistance to remove financial barriers to participation.
They will test the effectiveness of various approaches and service providers, for specific customer groups.
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B1. Welfare reform pilots - Mature Age Participation Pilot
This initiative will trial a new approach to mature aged people without jobs. The project will test the extent to which certain groups of older working age people face barriers to greater economic and social participation, and will also explore the feasibility and effectiveness of a range of approaches to assist these people to be more active in work and community life.
Participants will be interviewed to assess their circumstances and their job readiness, to identify barriers to work and other assistance needs. Participants and their interviewers will jointly develop a participation plan, which will set out an agreed form of activity.
The pilot will offer new opportunities to some groups of older Australians, who may not have previously had access to the full range of employment and other services including personal and financial counselling. The initiative offers a way of fostering a culture of self-reliance in the community while providing an effective safety net.
Various early intervention strategies will be trialed, and participants will have their progress monitored and assessed, allowing different strategies to be compared.
It is widely accepted internationally that encouraging early retirement is not an effective way to create labour market opportunities for younger unemployed people. Instead, the Government is putting forward policies to encourage and help people stay in the workforce longer as we prepare for an ageing population. The pilot will explore ways of assisting more effectively people who are more difficult to assist into employment or community-related activities by providing more effective channelling to existing services.
Funding: $3.1 million over two years
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B2. Welfare reform pilots - Workless Families Assistance Pilot
This pilot will test approaches to facilitate economic and social participation amongst workless families with school age children. The pilot has two areas of focus: workless couples and workless people with repeated transitions between single and partnered income support payment types.
Workless couples will be assisted to explore how they as a family can achieve optimal economic participation, while continuing to care for children and addressing other family problems or barriers. Joint interviews with Parenting Payment customers and their Newstart or Disability Support Pension partners will be conducted through the Jobs, Education and Training (JET) program.
The provision of up to $500 to pay for services or items to help people find employment will also be trialed.
Workless people with repeated transitions between single and partnered payment types will be assisted to overcome barriers to participation and to work towards economic participation as a means of increasing their independence and self reliance. Interviews will be conducted through the JET program.
The pilot will also investigate barriers to accessing services and assistance.
There is a large and increasing number of families in which neither parent is in paid employment. For example, some 860,000 Australian children are in households with no adult in paid work. Workless families face increased risks of long term income support reliance and associated economic and social disadvantage.
There are also a considerable number of transfers between Parenting Payment partnered (PPp) and single (PPs). Some people in this group are likely to experience significant economic and personal difficulties.
Although there are a wide range of services available to people to help them with economic and social participation, some groups have not had the opportunity to benefit from these services. The pilot aims to better link people with such services.
Funding: $2.4 million over two years
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B3. Welfare reform pilots - Tailored Assistance for the Very Long-term Unemployed Pilot
This pilot will test a number of intervention strategies for people on Newstart Allowance with an income support duration of 5 years or more who face barriers to greater economic and social participation.
Pilot participants will attend an interview that will offer a personalised, intensive assessment of their current circumstances, their barriers to returning to work, and their goals and aspirations. They will be helped to develop a Preparing for Work Agreement that will address their individual needs, which may include training, rehabilitation, specialist disability employment services, work experience or involvement with community organisations. An important focus will be to facilitate better linkages with a range of existing programs and agencies that can help people in this group.
Pilot sites will be in urban, rural and regional areas. The pilot will be carried out in areas with different socio-economic and geographic profiles, to ensure the information it yields is representative.
There are currently around 78,000 people on Newstart Allowance with an income support duration of 5 years or more. One quarter of this group are accessing assistance through Intensive Assistance, the remainder, however, have extreme and multiple barriers to returning to work. These need to be addressed in a more holistic way, through more effective links with existing services.
Funding: $1.4 million