The federal government is calling for a national conversation on the delivery on employment services after a global agency warned Australia faces rising joblessness as the economy slows.
The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) says Australia has one of the highest rates of jobs growth in the industrialised world and its "unique approach" to getting jobseekers into work has yielded significant economic gains.
"However, it is facing a stress test of a slowing economy and rising unemployment which may necessitate some further fine-tuning," OECD director of employment, labour and social affairs John Martin said on Tuesday.
Labor has invested $10 billion in employment services run by government agencies and not-for-profit groups since coming to power in 2007.
With the government facing an election year in 2013, Employment Participation Minister Kate Ellis said while the current system now did a much better job of helping people most in need, more could be done.
Ms Ellis released an issues paper - `Employment Services Building on Success' - seeking community views on the best way to deliver employment services in the future.
The government currently invests in programs such as Job Services Australia (JSA), Disability Employment Services (DES), Indigenous Employment Program and the proposed Remote Jobs and Communities Program (RJCP).
"It's timely that we start this conversation now," Ms Ellis told reporters in Sydney.
The right policy settings and directions needed to be put in place well before current contracts for JSA and DMS expired in mid-2015, she said.
Key themes raised in the issues paper include meeting the needs of jobseekers, working in partnership with employers, stronger partnerships with other services, identifying new ideas and reducing red tape.
The OECD also argued more effort was needed to help disadvantaged Australian jobseekers get back to work and to address the high number of people in part-time work who want full-time jobs.
Its report - Activating Jobseekers: How Australia Does It - shows the nation has the second highest employment rate of the OECD Group of 20 industrialised countries at 72.5 per cent, behind Germany on 72.7 per cent.
The September unemployment rate of 5.4 per cent was one of the lowest in the OECD, it added, although recent official data for November shows the rate has dipped to 5.2 per cent.
In its economic outlook released in November, the Paris-based institution slashed its 2013 economic growth forecast for Australia to three per cent, from 3.7 per cent.
Like the government, it expects the unemployment rate to rise to 5.5 per cent.
The OECD said Australia's system had worked well in delivering employment services for the jobless and there had been a slow decline in the value of unemployment benefits relative to average wages.
But it made a number of recommendations, including an increase in the maximum fees paid to employment service providers that place disadvantaged jobseekers in long-term stable jobs to encourage greater investment in training.