Senate Estimates – Questions on Notice - Employment

The volume of questions raised by parliamentarians during Senate Estimates often surpasses the time available, necessitating those providing evidence to take questions on notice and provide an answer at a future time.

Departmental representatives do not always have the information at hand to respond to certain questions and may need to source additional data which they can provide at a later date.

Wage Subsidies

A number of questions were raised on Wage Subsidies, relating to data on placements, duration of remaining off benefits, duration of unemployment and various jobseeker demographics.

Of the 1,500,509 job placements recorded for jobactive from 1 July 2015 to 31 October 2019, 172,574 had a wage subsidy attached. Of the subsidised placements,  42,814 were Youth Bonus Wage Subsidies.

Of those on Wage Subsidies who obtained employment, 79.1 percent remained off benefits after 26 weeks.

Further queries on Wage Subsidies revealed the number of wage subsidies across the following cohorts:

Wage Subsidies: Number and expenditure by target group

Type of Subsidy                           1/1/2018 – 31/8/2018                      1/1/2019 – 31/8/2019






Long term unemployed (12 months plus





Restart (50 years of age plus)





Parents (Principal carer parent)





Youth (25 – 29 years of age)











Capability Assessments

During Senate Estimates, focus was lent to the relatively high accumulation of demerits with only a small portion of jobseekers being in the penalty zone. The implication being that the Jobs Plans are inadequate following an assessment after the accumulation of demerits.

From 1 July 2018 to 31 August 2019 (14 months) 153,879 Capability Interviews were conducted by jobactive providers with 65,965 resulting in the jobseeker being retuned to the ‘Green Zone’ due to the lack of suitability of the Job Plan, amounting to 43 percent of all capability interviews during that period.

Of the 65,935 jobseekers:

  • 64 percent (41,936) had incorrect information on their Job Plan.
  • 10 percent (6,497) had a Job Plan which was inappropriate for the jobseeker’s capacity or circumstances.
  • 26 per cent (6,996) were the result of jobseeker disclosure of new information.
  • One percent (536) were due to stream or eligibility changes.

An additional query, being whether the assessments were conducted face to face or via telephone was raised. The Department of Human Services has indicated that this occurs over the phone; this will likely generate further queries as it remains a focus.



Information was provided on various outcomes for jobactive during 2018/19:

  • 12 week outcomes: 166,626.
  • 26 week outcomes: 126,263.
  • Over half of all outcomes were applied to stream A jobseekers.
  • Approximately one in three outcomes were applied to stream B jobseekers
  • Approximately one in 10 outcomes were applied to stream C jobseekers.
  • Information was also provided on the number of placements for each jobseeker on jobactive between 1 July 2015 and 31 August 2019. There were 1,445,920 placements of 825,662 jobseekers over that time frame.
  • 494,477 jobseekers had one placement during that time frame (consisting of approximately 6 in 10 jobseekers and one in three placements)
  • 1,673 jobseekers had 10 or more placements during that time frame (consisting of 0.2 percent of jobseekers and 1.3 percent of the total placements)


Employment fund

Evidence was provided on the overall spending from the Employment Fund during 2018/19 which detailed the following:

  • Stream A: $81,074,131
  • Stream B: $129,508,647
  • Stream C: $69,362,657

The funding was allocated to the following categories:

Accredited training:                     176,624 transactions amounting to $87,672,270

Non-accredited training:             43,620 transactions amounting to $26,418,287

Professional Services:                  213,098 transactions amounting to $35,052,123

Wage Subsidies:                            9,091 transactions amounting to $63,876,222

Other:                                            738,143 transactions amounting to $68,904,369

To view the Questions on Notice, see: