Jul 25, 2003

More job network bungles


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 25 July 2003

Today’s reports of a 53 year old Tasmanian woman and former art gallery worker being matched with a job requiring a chainsaw license further highlights the fundamental flaws within the Government’s much vaunted Australian JobSearch website.

As well as being matched with a job in a logging company, this same woman was matched with a job in an escort agency and with jobs more than 200km from where she lives.

To add insult to injury Minister Brough’s spokesman told the Mercury newspaper that if mature aged jobseekers want to improve their chances of finding a job they should remove their age from job application forms.

This suggestion is truly outrageous and nothing short of advising jobseekers to lie. Instead of confronting age discrimination, the Minister is again blaming jobseekers for their own predicament.

The experiences of mature-aged workers are assets that deserve respect.

Today’s case follows last week’s revelations that an escort agency and a company wanting to launder money in Australia were able to advertise for workers on the Government run JobSearch website.

These cases highlights the serious limitation with the JobSearch website. It is little wonder then that there are growing levels of frustration and disillusionment amongst many jobseekers.

However, these problems with auto-matching should come as no surprise. Back in July 2002 Jobs Australia, the peak body representing not-for-profit Job Network providers, warned:

“To undertake auto-matching five days a week could be counterproductive in promoting job search activity. Auto-matching will not increase the pool of available vacancies, so the likely result will be that job seekers will apply for more jobs and be forced to deal, on average, with a higher number of rejections. … We expect high levels of frustration and burnout for jobseekers experiencing, and required to experience, a regime of frequent rejections.”

(Jobs Australia Submission to DEWR, 19 July 2002)

Instead of launching gutless attacks on the unemployment, Minister Brough should acknowledge the problems associated with his JobSearch website and take action to enhance the filtering of job vacancy information send to jobseekers.

Unfortunately Minister Brough is in a complete state of denial. Without a doubt Minister Brough is this Government’s version of the Iraq Information Minister, Comical Ali.

Just three weeks into Job Network Mark 3 the system is in a state of deep confusion and jobseekers are being left to suffer.