Challenges expected for new rules applying to job seekers

EARN or learn was the Federal Government's message to jobseekers in the announcement of its new Jobactive employment service rules, which come into effect next week.

From Wednesday, jobseekers will be required to meet a scope of new obligations under the $6.8 billion employment service, which features the Work for the Dole program and incentives for employers to place jobseekers in short-term roles.

The rules mean jobseekers under the age of 30 will be required to work 25 hours per week, and those aged 30-59 required to work 15 hours to receive their allowances.

Tursa Employment is one of three service providers contracted by the Federal Government to deliver Jobactive on the Coffs Coast and its founder, Ron Rathborne, says he's expecting challenges.

With Coffs Harbour's unemployment rate sitting at 7.5% at the end of April, Mr Rathborne says the underlying challenge is "there are more jobseekers than available jobs."

Concerns Jobactive won't address the issue of job creation has meanwhile been echoed by various social welfare groups as well as Greens Senator Rachel Siewert, who said the issue of creating job opportunities "was being ignored by the government".

Mr Rathborne, however, remained positive the program would facilitate jobseekers into the workforce.

"People should not be deterred by the fact there is competition out there," he said.

"By matching jobseekers to their preferred industries, there is an opportunity for businesses to grow (which) could lead to further employment opportunities."

Under Jobactive, the primary contact for jobseekers will no longer be Centrelink but their new service provider, which will ensure they meet their mutual obligation requirements.

ETC chairman Rod McKelvey said the speed of transitioning to the Jobactive program had created challenges in the recruitment of experienced staff.

"Now that we have the new rules, it's going to be a matter of seeing how our clients adapt," he said.

But Member for Cowper and assistant minister for employment Luke Hartsuyker said a trial of the Jobactive program last year had delivered positive results.

"The program is focused on payment for performance and is aimed to get people into work," Mr Hartsuyker said.