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The federal Government has funded a permanent increase in the social services of about $2.5 billion a year (Bigstock)

Catholic Social Services Australia is among 23 organisations that have signed a letter calling for the Albanese Government to “commit to wholesale reform of employment services”. Source: AAP.

The Australian Council of Social Service said 500,000 people on income support are at risk of “serious harm” from a government employment service that is “broken”.

ACOSS has written the letter signed by CSSA as well as health organisations, First Nations services, unions and others calling for a total overhaul of employment services in next month’s Budget. 

“The employment services model is broken, inflicting serious harm and failing comprehensively to meet its stated aim of reducing long-term unemployment,” council chief executive Cassandra Goldie said on Friday.

‘‘There are over 500,000 people on Jobseeker and Youth Allowance payments for over a year and they’re not getting the help they need to find the right job.

“Each month, about 80,000 people are sent Robodebt-like notices threatening to take away their income support, for allegedly missing an appointment with a provider or failing to submit enough job applications.

“In most cases, they have actually met the requirement or have a good reason for not doing so.”

The Government defended its record on supporting the most vulnerable and boosting their inclusion in society but said it “can’t fund every good idea”.

The Government has funded a permanent increase in the social services of about $2.5 billion a year, Treasurer Jim Chalmers and Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said on Friday.

They also pointed to the stage three tax cuts coming in July along with more than $25 billion in new housing investments during the next decade.

“We are supporting economic inclusion on multiple other fronts, including by expanding paid parental leave, providing more funding for frontline services and community support, and backing wage increases for low-paid workers,” they said.


Community alliance slams ‘harm’ from employment service (By Aaron Sheldrick, AAP