Media Release by Senator the Hon Kay Patterson

Government’s Personal Adviser Program gives jobs boost to parents and older unemployed people

The Minister for Family and Community Services, Senator Kay Patterson, today welcomed independent research showing that the unemployed were benefiting from the Howard Government’s new Personal Adviser service aimed at helping them on their way back to work.

A survey of 3000 Centrelink customers who had interviews with a Personal Adviser has shown a very positive response to the service.

‘Personal Advisers were introduced in 2002 as part of the Government’s Australians Working Together package to help people on benefits plan to return to work or to participate in their community. This includes people receiving parenting payment and older unemployed people,’ Senator Patterson said.

The survey by the Social Research Centre found 63 per cent of respondents were more motivated and 64 per cent of them said they had new goals aimed at getting back to work as a result of their interview.

They believed these goals would result in greater self-reliance, which would help remove or reduce their need for Government payments.

The survey showed that at the time of the PA interview a relatively high proportion of customers were engaged in a range of participation activities:

  • 33.5% were looking for work
  • 20% were caring for someone with a special need or disability
  • 25% were undertaking paid work
  • 15% studying or training

‘More than half (52%) of the surveyed customers also agreed that an interview with a Personal Adviser had made a real difference to their situation,’ Senator Patterson said.

‘The survey found that Personal Advisers play a key role in linking people to the help they need to get a job. Personal advisers have referred nearly half of all their customers they interviewed to services and programs to help them with further vocational assistance, mainly to the Job Network, training or education, or voluntary work.

‘The Personal Adviser program was set up to assist those people who have been on benefits for along time and may not know what services are out there or what options they have to return to work.

‘Even in its early stages it is already clear that the Personal Adviser program is providing real benefits for people who need more help to re-enter the workforce or play a greater role in their community.’