They’re supposed to help you but are job agencies a rort? 166



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This week there’s been so much talk about the welfare reform and how the welfare system needs an overhaul. But one part of the welfare system that continues to bleed the government’s money is the employment services sector…and they might be doing the opposite of what they’re meant to.

Just this week, a Starts at 60 member told us about her experience looking for a job. She had been unemployed for 6 months after being made redundant in a long-term role. So that she could receive a Newstart allowance from Centrelink, she needed to attend a job seeking interview every week to show she was looking. She had applied and applied for job for months and had received no call backs. She was understandably feeling very down on herself. She continued to job search and it was one day when she used her daughter’s computer that she found that a job site she had tried to access at the job agency was actually working. At the job agency, the page was mysteriously blocked. So she applied for a number of jobs on this website and within days, she had 4 callbacks. She believes that there was something sinister going on at the job agency and said she had heard they get more money if you come back to them when your placement isn’t successful. Essentially, she said they seemed to be setting her up for failure every time.

When we looked into it, we were shocked to find that this wasn’t a one-off. In fact, on ABC program Four Corners, they discussed the billion-dollar, tax-payer funded Job Services Australia scheme, and it seems that there is a lot that we aren’t being told. As if the odds weren’t against us enough being over 60 job seekers, we have people who are meant to be helping us, hinder us.

Quite simply, there are not enough jobs for the amount of people who need them. And the unemployed are a commodity in the jobs game, where those who have the jobs at the agencies are far better off, the more people they have on their books.

According to Four Corners, who endeavoured to expose the fraud in Job Services Australia, the more disadvantaged you are, the more money the job agency makes from you. Job agencies received up to $587 when you walk in door, $385 when you find a job and if you stay in that job for 3 months they receive $2900, and $2900 more if you last 6 months. Plus, they can receive up to $1100 to improve your chances of getting a job, even if it doesn’t help at all. So what does this cost us? $18 billion since 1998. Once you’re “parked” i.e. your prospect of getting a job is minimal, the job seeker consultants will do the minimum required hours with you so they don’t waste resourcing. Is this shocking to learn?

Four Corners also exposed fraudulent documents that appeared to be signed by clients of job seeker agencies, but when checked, the people did not remember ever signing them.

All of this begs the question, is this system really working? Should the new focus on welfare be aimed at getting people jobs instead of forcing them to do it for the better of our economy? Share your thoughts.

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  2. The system is flawed and is not deivering what is should be doing especially for the amount of money it is after from the Govt coffers.People are being let down badly – try living in regional NSW its worse than citites.

  3. This doesn’t surprise me at all .. linked to a local employment agency for 2 years got sent to 1 job interview which was never likely to be successful but I was required to do 2 empowerment courses which was meant to empower me about my long term future ..yeah I was 60 n just wanted to have a job ..
    I asked about financial help to do a tafe course and told it wouldn’t be in “their” best interest …told when I was too ill to go to their empowerment course they would contact centrelink ..if I had no Dr certificate .my Dr is further away than they are and if I couldn’t drive to them how could I get to a Dr ..luckily for me back then I was classified as on a “widow’s pension” same financial as new start just didn’t have to prove I was job hunting their solution for an over 55 yr old who hadn’t worked in a year and with little job prospects would be emotionally straining … this apparently no longer exists.
    I finally gave up n signed off the agency .. found part time work myself …remarried and signed off centrelink .. I empowered my own future and stopped the so called employment agency earning at my expense whilst I was feeling useless and worthless

    2 REPLY
    • like you……& vowed I would never have CentreLink anywhere near me ever again! NO MATTER WHAT!

    • ABBOTT took my aged pension told me to go back to work till 69! I have health probs and a lot of injuries from accident. Last week CENTRELINK told me I had more than enough point for disability pension and that knew I wouldn’t be able to work. I live on $ They told me I had to go to work because the current government changed the wording in the legislation so that I WON’T get it no matter what I do. How’s that for working two jobs all ur life and getting no super

  4. Agree, they are people sitting there taking all your personal details.
    Wasting your time and money.
    Close them down.
    They were initially jobs for the boys.
    Best to go door knocking if you are really serious about getting a job.
    Government entrance exams are not much better. Get rated but no offers.
    Government departments including local councils and tafe colleges are full of nepotism.
    “Conflict of interest” that’s what it’s called! !!
    They need to be weeded out.
    They’re just Stopping the ordinary everyday persons chances of employment.

  5. I watched a program about rorting at these centers on the ABC,so I asked some friends who are unemployed about it. I was a bit stunned at what they had to say. One told me she had never once been given a job interview to go to, and another a man said he was sent to a course on How to brush your teeth along with about 20 other older Aussie’s. Now before you think it is a personal hygiene thing, he has false teeth!!

    2 REPLY
  6. Privatisation is held to be wonderful, so much better than the government providing a service, after all public servants are lazy and useless. Wrong, privatisation puts an organisation striving for profit in charge, I watched the ABC show Monday what an argument against privatisation. Forgery and fraud are criminal offences are the AFP investigating. Instead of sending the unemployed on courses which will really help them, they get sent only to courses run by the employment agency. Who cops the bill for this fraud, us the taxpayer.

    2 REPLY
    • Nope, pretty sure public servants don’t do it that well. Remember the Commonwealth Employment service? What a joke.

    • Jobs can only be provided if they exist, but the continual garbage you see that the private sector is better, is just garbage in many cases, and this showed why.

  7. A RORT!!! Not even close – A SHAM!! Over 60 and trying to get Newstart – I didn’t want Newstart I wanted a job – of course have to go to the employment agency only to be told just sign here and we don’t have any jobs. Second time I went they at least looked at my resume only to be told “Oh no we would’t have any jobs for your type of calibre”. Next time they offered me a “non compulsory course for a week” (as I was over 60 it wasn’t compulsory). I decided to go to the course (as I had nothing else to do). WOW – what an eye opener – the trainer was an ex teacher (or so she said) and proceeded to tell us that she was bi-polar. I was sitting next to a guy who said his father had shot someone and was in gaol and that he had been in gaol too. Sitting opposite was a young woman who was an alcoholic and was going through the DTs – she had to leave early every day to go to the pub. There was a cook who the police came in and dragged off somewhere. Then there were 3 teenagers who spent the whole time on their mobiles – I had this feeling that I was the only “normal person” there and the Trainer asked me to help her. Needless to say I only lasted 4 out of the five days and still didn’t get any work. I have given up now because Centrelink won’t give me newstart as my husband earns too much money $39k a year so just have to wait until June when I turn 65 and might be able to get some benefits. Having said that I would still rather be working.

    9 REPLY
    • that is a disgrace, they could make a movie out of that job course.. how can the Government justify giving them money for that?..I hope you find work, by the sounds of that you will have to find it by yourself..good luck

    • I’ve heard all of this before. It’s at best disgraceful and immoral. But worse, people don’t realise the job agencies are against them, they believe these people are trying their best to get them back into the workplace, so when they cannot get work, when they are unsuccessful interview after interview they blame themselves, feel like a failure, lose their self esteem, lose confidence and often become depressed. Then, they are not only in the centrelink system, they are in the medical system, and some of them will finish up in the mental health system. All because someone is making money out of them.

    • My my how this has been going on for so many years.similar story from me
      Boy there is trouble ahead
      Julie the 180,000,000 could have built factories that would resulted in jobs simple.Government got lot to patch up

    • Try giving retail a go – generally don’t have to go through agencies. I did office work most of my life and now work a couple of days a week in a clothing store – no stress, sociable and a bit of extra money.

    • Thanks Lulu. I was a PA and in admin all my life and I like the sound of retail but you have to have experience. I am not too stressed about it but just get annoyed with all the waste of money on these agencies

    • I am 60and on my own living on newstart and trying to pay bills. I rarely do groceries, I live on yoghurt and a bit of fruit, tomatoes and cruskits. My pension was taken by ABBOTT and I was told to go back to work till 69! I have health problems and a lot of injuries from an accident. I applied for disability. After 14mths of fighting centrelink, I had a meeting last week with them and the AAT. They told me straight out that I had more than enough points for disability and that they knew it would be impossible to go back to work. BUT, the current ABBOTT government had changed the wording in the legislation so that I WON’T get it! They then told me that because of this I had to go and restudy, AT 60 and I had to go to work. So, this is what I get after working two full-time jobs all my life, one daytime and one 7 nights a week and no super either. it’s a lovely way to live out The end of ur life Isn’t it?

    • Sue I feel sorry for you but I am not complaining just wondering why, over all these tears hasn’t ANY government stop the tort of these agencies. Maybe you could try and do some call centre work from home. Good luck

    • I have seen desperate people threatened with cancellation of payments because the were being forced to attend an irrevelant course which was a money maker for the JSA.

  8. The Liberal Party started these agencies and they the biggest rip off we have seen. They help no one find work at all and should be shut down

    3 REPLY
    • Graeme the Liberals are in Government again now..if anyone is rorting why are they not stopping it? I don’t care who it is, if they are rorting it should be stopped

    • These agencies have been going throughout the previous Laba Pardy Administration. Not a word from 4 Corners and no action for the Laba Pardy.

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