Govt to investigate job service rorts

Screenshot from the Sydney Morning Herald

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The federal government will investigate abuse of the multibillion-dollar Job Services Australia program and enforce ''more stringent evidentiary requirements'' on thousands of employment agencies claiming fees under the scheme, reports the Sydney Morning Herald.

The Minister for Employment Participation, Kate Ellis, will announce today that Robert Butterworth, a former Commonwealth official, has been hired to examine agencies claiming a disproportionate number of fees from the program.

The inquiry has been prompted by a Herald investigation which found rorting of the welfare-to-work program was rampant. Last week the paper revealed one of the Catholic Church's employment agencies was falsely claiming up to 70 per cent of its job placement fees between October 2009 and December 2010 - sometimes under the encouragement of management.

The Herald interviewed 63 job seekers it serviced and whose job placements were lodged with the government as brokered; 44 said they had found the job themselves. CatholicCare has launched its own investigation into practices at its employment agencies.

Government sources have confirmed the Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations has known for more than a decade about the problems.

Under the scheme employment agencies are paid to assist the unemployed to find work and reduce their reliance on Centrelink payments.

Agencies which find or ''broker'' more jobs for welfare-recipients win higher fees and higher star ratings, which in turn improves their chances of getting government contracts worth potentially millions of dollars.

But sources across the industry say the majority of agencies are claiming fees for placements which were found by job seekers themselves.

FULL STORY

Minister acts over claims of fraud by employment agencies (Sydney Morning Herald)

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CatholicCare denies fraud claims

Church employment arm accused of duping govt  

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Screenshot from the Sydney Morning Herald 

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