Ballina jobs office faces the chop
By JANE GARDNER
UP TO 12 WorkDirections employees in Ballina face the prospect of unemployment after the government decided the job placement agency is not meeting its standards.
The Department of Employment and Workplace Relations says the Ballina agency is 'underperforming' according to their stringent five star rating system.
The reviews are carried out every six months, and it is understood anything less than a three star rating would lead to the very real risk of losing the national Job Network contract.
The Department of Employment imposed sanction would see the business reallocated to other, better performing Job Network members.
Tenders for another provider to take on the WorkDirections workload will be advertised in July.
The news comes just days after the wife of opposition leader Kevin Rudd confirmed she would sell the Australian arm of her $170 million job-placement empire, Ingeus, which includes WorkDirections.
The Ballina WorkDirections office scored the worst star rating out of 16 Job Network agencies in the Northern Rivers region with only two stars.
Tursa in Byron Bay scored the best at five stars.
A report on ABC radio yesterday revealed there are 15 other underperforming providers across Australia under threat.
Minister for Workplace Participation Doctor Sharman Stone said she could not comment on the situation at Ballina, but confirmed a restructuring was taking place across the nation.
"Very low performing Job Network providers can have all of their government business removed," she said.
"In the most recent reallocation, eight per cent of the $1.2 billion Job Network business is currently being re-tendered."
Two WorkDirections offices on the Sunshine Coast are in the same situation as the Ballina office and are expected to close by August.