Mr MELHEM (Western Metropolitan): My adjournment matter is directed to the Minister for Industry and Employment, the Honourable Ben Carroll. The Victorian government is delivering employment support for jobseekers who are facing barriers to employment. It is also providing the extra support needed for the long-term unemployed or those at risk of long-term unemployment through the extensive range of Jobs Victoria programs. The main program currently operating is the Jobs Victoria Employment Network, which funds 51 employment support services across Victoria. This policy is achieving excellent outcomes for those involved.

The relevant services are tailored to the specific needs of jobseekers and their local area. The focus on localised support has allowed this program to achieve great things in the west. Brimbank saw 523 people registering for support services, with 197 placed into employment. Wyndham had 447 utilising these services, with an amazing 234 placements. The successful implementation of these activities has resulted in outcomes for almost 6000 jobseekers in the first year of the program. Of these, more than 2650 have been placed into employment — 686 in western metro municipalities alone. However, I highlight to the minister that Australian government data continues to show that Melbourne’s western suburban region has the highest unemployment rate in the state, at 9 per cent. The trends around youth unemployment are also deeply concerning.

The action I seek is that the minister advise me of what further actions have been taken by the Victorian government in tackling unemployment, particularly youth unemployment, in Melbourne’s west.

6 February 2018

Response to Adjournment:

The Victorian Government has committed $68 million to Jobs Victoria to deliver targeted policies and programs aimed at reducing unemployment across Victoria by providing assistance to long-term jobseekers facing barriers to employment. The flagship program, the Jobs Victoria Employment Network, funds tailored services to provide employment support to jobseekers, helping pave a path for jobseekers to ongoing employment. On the latest figures available, the Jobs Victoria Employment Network has registered over 8308 jobseekers, and placed 2976 of this number into employment across Victoria. I am particularly pleased to inform the Member that this includes 1699 jobseekers registered and 701 placed into employment across Melbourne’s west via ten regional services.

However, there are still areas of need the Victorian Government is actively addressing. Reducing youth unemployment is a key priority area of the Victorian Government and multiple Jobs Victoria programs directly support the improving employment outcomes of young Victorians.

As part of the Jobs Victoria Employment Network, the Victorian Government has allocated $6.7 million to employment services focused on unemployed young people and youth that have interacted with the criminal justice system. Another 29 multi-target services also cater to the employment needs of young people and are supported as part of this program.

To create more entry-level vocational work opportunities, the Victorian Government has committed to the Major Project Skills Guarantee (MPSG). This requires principal contractors delivering publicly funded building, construction, infrastructure, engineering and other capital projects over the value of $20 million to utilise Victorian apprentices, trainees, and engineering cadets for at least 10 per cent of the project’s working labour hours. The MPSG is currently in the process of being applied to 98 planned projects across Victoria and has already created over 3500 work opportunities for young Victorians. 20 of these 98 projects fall within Melbourne’s west and will greatly support employment outcomes for young people in this area.

The Victorian Government is also delivering the Youth Employment Scheme (YES), which offers 280 traineeships each year to young Victorians looking to gain experience in the public sector and enhance their prospects for employment. As an extension to this program, the Jobs Victoria Youth Cadetship program offers 135 YES graduates a further two years of work experience in the public sector.

Recently, the Victorian Government also launched Jobs Victoria JobsBank, a new initiative modelled on the success of the Jobs Victoria Employment Network to provide more intensive personalised support to jobseekers with complex needs. Jobs Victoria JobsBank identifies young people as within its target demographics and will complement the ongoing efforts of the Victorian Government to support young people in employment across Victoria.

8 March 2018