By Michael Giles

BUSINESS operators in the local area may have received a letter from the Minister for Employment, Senator the Hon Michaelia Cash, last week dated November 17, 2015.
What you have to ask, though, is how serious is the government really about jobs and future opportunities, not only for our young people, but also for older workers who find themselves victims of the rapid pace of technological change.
The letter, advising business that the Australian Government has “a new recruitment service, Jobactive”, comes more than four and a half months after it actually launched Jobactive online on July 1, 2015.
The incentives the Minister is talking about as being “new” have actually been around for months, but almost no one knew about it.
In fact, the government knew it was launching Jobactive many months earlier, having let new contracts to service providers such as Sureway Employment & Training and MAX Employment, while seeing off other local job service providers who lost their contracts.
It could have and should have engaged local business in the process a lot earlier.
Government, intent on a real partnership with business, can actually do a lot to support, encourage and provide incentive to business to employ more people but the present government has been asleep at the wheel.
Leadership changes, terrorism abroad and border security issues are sucking the oxygen out of the fundamentals of government and jobseekers are being made to suffer.
There’s something else that’s stopping the government from getting the message through, but more of that later.
In a 3500-word speech to the Business Council of Australia in November this year, the Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull mentioned the word ‘jobs’ only three times.
“The Government’s objectives in terms of its economic policy are very simple. Very easily stated,” he said.
“We need to ensure that Australia remains a high-wage generous social welfare net, first world economy.
“We need to ensure that our communities increase, our horizons expand, our children and our grandchildren can have better JOBS, more exciting JOBS, bigger opportunities than we have had. And to do that, it is perfectly plain that we have to be more innovative, more technologically advanced, more enterprising, more competitive, and more productive, that much is absolutely clear. There is no room for complacency…
“The next lift in national income we all understand has to come from productivity. And in a sense, innovation is another word for productivity. It will lead to greater productivity. Reform is simply a means to an end,” he said.
He also said that there needs to be deep community understanding “that the purpose of reform is to create better opportunities in the future, better JOBS, and greater opportunities for investment, greater prosperity, and greater economic security.”
It all sounds good, as is the aim of engaging the community in what you are trying to do, but it’s no good if you don’t tell people about it or come in late with the necessary information, as has been happening with the Jobactive reforms and the all-important issue of jobs generally.
Elsewhere in the PM’s speech he provides an insight into why local business and communities aren’t being kept informed when he describes an objective to have all frequently performed transactions with Government undertaken on digital platforms, end to end, by 2017.
The problem with that approach is the government is trying to skip the awareness and engagement part of the process and go straight to implementation – it’s on the web and if you can’t find it, too bad.