2018–19 Budget Jobs and Small Business Overview

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The Government has announced an investment in businesses, science and technology in the 2018‑19 Budget to increase productivity and employment opportunities and to help Australian businesses to be globally competitive.

Recognising the transformation of the economy presents both benefits and challenges, the Budget includes initiatives to provide support and opportunities for those vulnerable to change, helping them to acquire the skills which will equip them and their families for the future.

Budget initiatives to be delivered by the Department of Jobs and Small Business focus on support for mature age workers and job seekers, those in transitioning industries and disadvantaged regional areas, as well as additional funding for the Transition to Work service to help more young people into work.

More Choices for a Longer Life—jobs and skills for mature age Australians

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Job changes are a reality for many people over the course of their working life. As we get older, we may need to update our skills or change careers. The Government’s jobs and skills measures in the More Choices for a Longer Life package will help older Australians to remain in the workforce, have flexibility in their later working years and retire with security.

Support for older Australians to continue to build their capabilities will be provided through a number of new initiatives:

Skills and Training Incentive for older Australians

The Skills and Training Incentive will assist older Australians build skills in the later stages of their careers, helping mature age workers remain in the workforce for longer.

Older Australians and their employers will be eligible for up to a $2000 matched incentive for undertaking suitable training (accredited or non-accredited). There will be up to 3600 incentives available for each year of the two year trial program.

Suitable training will be identified through a Skills Checkpoint assessment. This will likely involve a range of skills and occupational assessments.

The Skills and Training Incentive will be available from 1 January 2019.

For more information, visit the Skills and Training Incentive page.

Bringing forward the national rollout of Career Transition Assistance

Career Transition Assistance, announced in the 2017–18 Budget, will provide older Australians with a voluntary, short, intensive course consisting of skills assessments, exploration of suitable occupations, resilience strategies and digital skills.

A trial in five regions (Ballarat, VIC; Somerset, QLD; Central West, NSW; Adelaide South, SA; and Perth North, WA) to inform the program was already scheduled to start in July 2018, ahead of a national rollout from 1 July 2020.

The Government has announced it will bring forward the national rollout of Career Transition Assistance by one year, to start from 1 July 2019. Eligibility for the program will also be extended to 45 to 49 year-olds, beyond the current age bracket of 50 years and over.

For more information, visit the Career Transition Assistance page.

New Entrepreneurship Facilitators to help older Australians become their own boss

Many older Australians are well-placed to consider self-employment as an option for extending their working life.

Under this Budget initiative, Entrepreneurship Facilitators will encourage entrepreneurship and self-employment among older Australians at risk of unemployment due to structural changes in the economy.

This measure builds on the existing three Entrepreneurship Facilitators which have a focus on increasing youth self-employment, by adding a further 20 facilitators to focus on older Australians.

Entrepreneurship Facilitators will offer free mentoring and business support, engage with relevant community organisations to increase community awareness of the opportunities available through self-employment, and refer participants to the most appropriate assistance available to them in the region, including to the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS).  

For more information, visit the Entrepreneurship Facilitators page.

Making ‘Job Change’ easier

The Job Change initiative will provide mature age Australians and job seekers with practical assistance to reskill, stay in the workforce or find a new job, and enjoy the economic and social benefits that employment brings.

It will do this through:

  • better access to information about career pathways through a new Skills Transferability Tool on the Job Outlook website and enhanced online retrenchment resources on the What's Next website.
  • earlier access to employment services for retrenched workers, and their partners through jobactive, the development of the Retrenchment Rapid Response Framework and a new voluntary Redundancy Information Statement
  • continuing intensive employment assistance for automotive manufacturing workers through jobactive, extending the Gippsland Employment Facilitator and hosting Jobs Fairs in regions undergoing significant structural change.

The Job Change initiative will progressively start from 1 June 2018.

Collaborative Partnership on Mature Age Employment

The Australian Government will establish a collaborative partnership with the Age Discrimination Commissioner, business peak bodies, universities and other experts to encourage employers to create more mature age friendly workplaces and reduce age discrimination.

The partnership will raise awareness of age discrimination among employers, promote the benefits of employing older workers, and help employers to manage an age-diverse workforce.

The partnership starts from July 2018.

For more information, visit the Collaborative Partnership on Mature Age Employment page.

Additional incentives for employers to hire more staff

The Budget also makes provision for employers to continue to receive financial incentives to hire mature age Australians, parents, youth aged 25 to 29, long-term unemployed people and Indigenous Australians.

Wage subsidies will be funded beyond those currently funded under the Capped Wage Subsidy Pool by allowing them to be paid from the Employment Fund. This will allow up to 30,000 additional disadvantaged job seekers each year, including mature age job seekers, to have the opportunity to access wage subsidies.

Regional Employment Trials to provide local solutions to unemployment

Some regional areas, particularly those impacted by structural change in the economy, are facing challenges in terms of employment opportunities and growth. In response to this, the Government will introduce the Regional Employment Trials program in 10 selected disadvantaged regions.

Employment Facilitators will work with Regional Development Australia (RDA) committees in trial regions to develop projects to help tackle local employment challenges. The projects will bring together stakeholders and employment services providers.

The Regional Employment Trials start from 1 October 2018.

Helping more youth Transition to Work

Helping vulnerable young people into the workforce remains a primary focus of the Government’s Youth Employment Strategy, announced in the 2015–16 Budget. Central to this is the Youth Jobs PaTH program and the Transition to Work service.

Transition to Work provides intensive, pre-employment support to improve the work-readiness of young people and help them into work, including through apprenticeships, traineeships and education.

From 1 July 2018, the Transition to Work service will move from a capped funding model to a more flexible demand-driven funding model. These changes will ensure Transition to Work is funded to continue to meet demand for its services.

Streamlining Services for Refugees

To better support the settlement of newly arrived refugees, the Government is simplifying the approach to accessing support services.

Under current arrangements, newly arrived refugees are eligible for the Humanitarian Settlement Program (HSP), Adult Migrant English Program (AMEP), and jobactive.

These servicing arrangements can be confusing for refugees and service providers. It can result in some refugees entering the workforce without a sufficient level of English proficiency.

From 1 January 2019, newly arrived refugees, receiving activity tested income support, will focus on HSP and AMEP for six months. They will then become eligible for full jobactive services after six months of receiving income support

Protecting employees’ rights and benefits

The Registered Organisations Commission (ROC) is an independent statutory entity that regulates and educates registered unions and employer associations in Australia, particularly about their financial reporting and accountability obligations.

The ROC will be provided an additional $8.1 million funding, from 1 July 2018, to perform all its statutory functions, such as investigating whistleblower disclosures and registering auditors.

The ROC will also have an expanded role in educating registered organisations about their financial reporting and accountability obligations.

Previous Budget measures

Helping vulnerable young people into the workforce remains a focus for the Government under the Youth Jobs PaTH program, which helps prepare young people for a job and encourages businesses to trial and hire a job-ready young person. The ParentsNext program will continue to provide support to parents of young children to ensure they are work-ready when their children start school. The Government  will also continue its focus on enhancing employment outcomes for Indigenous Australians through the Closing the Gap initiatives.

For further information including Portfolio Budget Statements and agency outcomes, visit our Portfolio Budget Statements 2018-19.