Job Agencies Face Inquiry, Audit
The government has launched an audit to some Job Services Australia providers to check financial conduct. Only 42 percent of the fees filed by these agencies appeared to be legitimate and genuine. Because of this, some providers are facing fraud investigation.
Based on the results, it appears that employment agencies charged about more than $100 million worth of false claims in the last two years. Part of these claims includes $25.3 million to promote agencies to source employment for their clients.
Robert Butterworth oversaw the audit and said there is significant evidence that many claims are unsupported and unconfirmed. He added that there is incidence of poor administration.
The review covered provider-brokered outcomes or those fees paid by an employment agency to look for employment for a Centrelink recipient instead of just providing assistance to the person. More than 160 similar fees have been claimed by other job providers using the same scheme.
Butterworth said that although the review only covered provider-brokered outcomes, he concludes that the behavior for others is just about the same.
Last March, Employment Participation Minister Kate Ellis said she would implement changes to decrease the number of fees by half.
With the Butterworth report, Ellis reiterated the agency’s commitment in implementing the recommendations stated in the report.
Sources said that working around the loopholes has allowed these practices to thrive. These include false claims on the Employment Pathways Fund. The fund is accessed to subsidize for new clothing or training for job hunters with the aim of preparing them for a new job.