Jobs and Skills Summit
PA’s CEO Jill McCabe attended the Jobs and Skills Summit earlier this month to advocate for our members in discussions with industry, community, academia and government about how we can manage the economic and social challenges facing Australia. A number of PA staff also attended industry roundtables that preceded and informed the Summit.
Forging a new spirit of tripartism, the Summit was attended by:
- the Prime Minister, the Treasurer and several key Ministers in the Albanese Government, as well as Premiers from States and Territories
- the ACTU and union leaders
- the BCA, Australian Industry Group, ACCI, COSBOA and CEOs in a range of industry sectors
- leaders from the community sector and academia.
The agenda for the Summit was ambitious – how can we build a bigger, better trained and more productive workforce, boost real wages and living standards, and create more opportunities for more Australians.
Discussion focused on five major themes:
It was widely acknowledged that urgent action is required in each of these thematic areas and the Albanese Government agreed to 36 immediate initiatives including:
- Maintaining full employment and growing productivity
- Boosting job security and wages
- Maximising labour market participation, promoting equal opportunities and reducing barriers to employment, especially for people living with disability, First Nations people, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds, young workers and older workers.
- Strengthening the labour force through skills development, training and migration
- Maximising opportunities in the industries of the future including clean energy
- An additional $1 billion in joint Federal-State funding for fee-free TAFE in 2023 and accelerated delivery of 465,000 fee-free TAFE places;
- A one-off income credit so that Age Pensioners who want to work can earn an additional $4,000 over this financial year without losing any of their pension;
- More flexibly utilising $575 million in the National Housing Infrastructure Facility to invest in social and affordable housing, and attract financing from superannuation funds and other sources of private capital;
- Modernising Australia’s workplace relations laws, including to make bargaining accessible for all workers and businesses;
- Amending the Fair Work Act to strengthen access to flexible working arrangements, make unpaid parental leave more flexible and strengthen protection for workers against discrimination and harassment;
- Improving access to jobs and training pathways for women, First Nations people, regional Australians and culturally and linguistically diverse people, including equity targets for training places, 1,000 digital apprenticeships in the Australian Public Service, and other measures to reduce barriers to employment;
- An increase in the permanent Migration Program ceiling to 195,000 in 2022-23 to help ease widespread, critical workforce shortages; and
- Extending visas and relaxing work restrictions on international students to strengthen the pipeline of skilled labour, and providing additional funding to resolve the visa backlog
In addition to immediate actions, the Federal Government has identified further work to be explored in each thematic area. You can read more about the actions and further work in the Jobs & Skills Summit Outcomes paper at www.treasury.gov.au/employment-whitepaper/jobs-summit
The Albanese Government is committed to maintaining the spirit of cooperation and collaboration that was engendered at the Summit and PA will continue advocating for our members to ensure their employment opportunities and outcomes are strengthened in any reforms to our skills, training, and industrial relations systems.
However, PA also has an important role to play in advocating for people who experience major disadvantages in terms of access to training, education, and employment. Addressing barriers to participation and promoting equality of opportunity is essential to a strong and inclusive economy – and will ensure the benefits of full employment are fairly shared.
PA will be making a submission in response to the Terms of Reference for the Government’s White Paper on Employment, when they are released.
Further Jobs and Skills Summit resources :
ACTU Jobs Summit Series
Grattan Institute Presentation - Danielle Wood CEO
CSIRO Megatrends Report