Federal Budget 2023: Everything employers need to know

'More targeted support' promised for jobseekers, young people, First Nations communities, Pacific Island workers

Federal Budget 2023: Everything employers need to know

The Australian government is seeking to enhance workplace safety and employment among various sectors in its newly unveiled Federal Budget 2023-24.

Employment and Workplace Relations Minister Tony Burke said the budget will improve workplace safety by investing in three measures.

Among these include investing an extra $10 million to tackle silicosis, which will include expanding the functions of the Asbestos Safety and Eradication Agency and supporting Safe Work Australia in its national awareness initiatives.

The government recently announced a string of measures in relation to silicosis, including the consideration of a ban on engineered stone products.

The government will also earmark $4.4 million for the establishment of the National Construction Industry Forum, which will provide the building and construction industry advice on workplace safety, culture, skills, productivity, and gender equality.

Another $2 million over two years will be invested to support the new Commonwealth Work Health and Safety (WHS) Regulations on managing psychosocial hazards at work.

"Funding will go towards educating the providers who train Health and Safety Representatives to perform their statutory functions in relation to psychosocial hazards," Burke said in a media release.

Employment allocations

Meanwhile, Burke said the budget will also provide "more targeted support" for job seekers, young people, First Nations communities, as well as Pacific Island workers. Among these strategies include allocating:

  • $15.2 million to support the establishment of Y Careers agency, which can help up to 15,000 young people to pursue meaningful careers
  • $5.7 million over two years to support First Nations prisoners in connecting them with employment services
  • $5.6 million over five years to provide continuity of employment services in the Broome Employment Region
  • $166.7 million over four years to enable the Department to bring domestic operations in-house, which will enhance scheme oversight and participant welfare

The government will also abolish the ParentsNext programme on July 1, 2024, to be replaced by a new voluntary service that will better meet the needs of parents, according to Burke.

"This is in response to recommendations from the Economic Inclusion Advisory Committee, the Women's Economic Equality Taskforce and the House of Representatives Select Committee on Workforce Australia Employment Services," the minister said.

The budget allocations come on the heels of the government's previous efforts to get wages moving by implementing workplace reforms.

"We are continuing this work with consultation on further changes to close the loopholes undermining pay and conditions such as wage theft, labour hire rorts, casualisation and the absence of minimum standards for workers in the gig economy," Burke said.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers previously said that the 2023-24 budget would:

  • Provide cost-of-living relief
  • Deliver historic investments in Medicare and the care economy
  • Broaden opportunity
  • Lay the foundations for growth
  • Strengthen the budget

On the last note, Chalmers said there is a "surplus forecast" this year, with less debt and smaller deficits compared with recent budget.

"These are the foundations on which our government is building a stronger economy and a fairer society," the treasurer said in his speech. "With greater security in a time of economic uncertainty."

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