Latest News

Read all the latest news from Brendan O'Connor MP


March 21, 2020

After calls from Federal Labor, we welcome the news that the Government will relax physical engagement between job service providers, Centrelink and job seekers.

In a letter to Minister Cash, Federal Labor urged the Government to suspend mutual obligations that require physical interaction for a period of time for Australian jobseekers. This is in line with the Government’s advice on social distancing in order to slow the spread of the virus and will help minimise the risk to both job seekers and job service providers in contracting the virus.

In a time where job opportunities are scarce and will certainly become more scarce over the coming weeks and months, we believe this is a measure that can help protect our community.

Federal Labor understands the importance of vulnerable people maintaining connections to society in times of emergency for their mental wellbeing.

An example of meaningful work that can be done without physical interaction but help jobseekers remain connected to society is a program that is run by the Museum of Perth where historical paper documents are being digitised by volunteers and Work for the Dole participants.

This is one example of an activity that will fulfil mutual obligation requirements without the need for face-to face contact as well as provide valuable skills that will assist people to find employment. We encourage the Government to explore this opportunity further.

The Government’s changes follow recent reports that the United Kingdom has suspended its welfare conditionality rules to try an limit the spread of COVID-19.