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What is Centrelink's new employment services program, Workforce Australia? How will it affect jobseekers?

Job seekers will soon transition to a new points-based system to receive their payments. (AAP: Dan Peled)

Jobactive — the Australian government's main employment services program — has been replaced by a new service called Workforce Australia Employment Services Provider. 

If you were previously on Jobactive while receiving the JobSeeker Payment, you should have been moved to the new program.

Here's how the change will affect your job search.

What is Workforce Australia?

The Department of Education, Skills and Employment (DESE) describes it as a new "front door" service, aimed at helping people keep a job, change jobs or create their own job.

It's made up of two streams: an online portal called Workforce Australia Online, and a face-to-face service.

Here's what the differences are:

Workforce Australia Online

If you are a jobseeker, you will be placed in an online employment service and will have access to:

  • Resume tools
  • Online learning
  • Professional career guidance
  • A Jobs Board with skills-matching
  • Links to training and other programs

You will have access to financial support to help with pre-employment and the resources and skills to find and keep a job, such as police checks and completion of micro-credentials. 

Digital jobseekers will also be supported by the Digital Services Contact Centre (DSCC), which they can contact to request information and technical assistance.

Face-to-face service

If you require more tailored support to get job-ready and look for work, a Workforce Australia Employment Service Provider will provide tailored case management services to help you find and keep work.

Providers will support you through: 

  • Career guidance, mentoring and vocational training
  • Work experience, job placements and post-placement support
  • Training and work-related licensing, relocation assistance and other work-related services
  • Employment programs that recognise skills and micro-credentials

As a jobseeker, what will my obligations be?

There are new changes to the way jobseekers will have to complete mutual obligations.

A new Points Based Activation System (PBAS) has been introduced, which will replace the current system where jobseekers are required to submit 20 job applications a month. 

Through the PBAS, jobseekers will need to accumulate 100 points a month in order to continue receiving payments.

How do I earn points?

You earn points by doing the following tasks: 

  • Completing job applications
  • Attending interviews
  • Completing online learning modules

Here are the points values for some tasks:


Points earned on completion

Job application

5 points

Online learning modules

5 points (maximum of 5 points per month)

Attending a job interview 

20 points

The Australian government's job search website offers a complete breakdown of the points values for tasks.

Points targets may be reduced based on "personal circumstances" and extra points can be carried over into the next month, according to the DESE website.

How do I report points?

If you're self-managing online, you can report points via your Workforce Australia Online home page, the Workforce Australia mobile app, or by contacting the DSCC.

If you have a provider, you can report points by contacting your provider or via your Workforce Australia Online home page or the mobile app.

You will also receive prompts on your home page reminding you to report your points.

What happens if I don't meet my points target?

If you don't meet your points target or complete your minimum job search each month, you could receive a payment suspension and a demerit

The government's job search website advises that you should tell your provider straight away if you think you won't meet your points target.

And if you're self-managing online, you can contact the DSCC to inform them about your situation.

Jobactive was found 'not fit for purpose', prompting overhaul

The aim of jobactive was to help people on Centrelink payments apply for jobs or undertake further training.

However, it was criticised as "punitive" by welfare groups.

In 2019, a Senate committee found it was "not fit for purpose", prompting the recent changes to come into effect next month. 

According to the DESE, Workforce Australia was informed by extensive collaboration with over 140 stakeholders, national and internal research and intensive user-centred design with job seekers and employers.

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