The incidence of very long-term unemployment in Australia has risen by nearly 1 per cent per annum since the late 1970s. Despite concerted active LMPs since then, the level of very long term unemployed has risen to nearly 100 000 people. The majority of these people have been workless for a large portion of their working lives. There is broad consensus that the net impact effects of LMPs for the work deprived are either small or very small. Deficiencies in past and ongoing evaluation efforts, including the lack of rigorous research designs has hampered our understanding of how these LMPs work. Given the current state of our knowledge, serious consideration should be given to providing assistance more closely targeted towards the specific needs of the unemployed person and permanent job creation programs.