Key leaders from the government, business, and labour sectors met at the 2022 Jobs and Skills Summit last week to come up with ways on how to create a stronger and more resilient Australian economy.
Spearheaded by the Labor government, the summit allowed stakeholders to discuss various issues such as building a bigger, better trained and more productive workforce, improving workers’ living standards and wages, and creating more opportunities for Australians overall.
In a statement following the event, the Albanese administration announced that it is prioritising full employment, productivity growth, and equal job opportunities for women as part of its economic and fiscal policy.
“We will work towards reducing barriers to employment so that all Australians have the opportunity to participate to their full potential,” the federal government wrote on the prime minister’s website.
Initiatives from the Jobs and Skills Summit
The Albanese Government said it has agreed to 36 initiatives discussed at the Jobs and Skills Summit. These are:
1. To set aside an additional $1bn in joint Federal-State funding for fee-free TAFE in 2023, as well as the accelerated delivery of 465,000 fee-free TAFE places
2. To create a one-off income credit for Age Pensioners who still want to work so that they can earn an additional $4,000 without losing any pension
3. To allow for more flexibility in utilising $575m in the National Housing Infrastructure Facility, which will be invested in social and affordable housing. The budget will also be used to attract financing from superannuation funds, as well as other potential sources of private capital
4. To modernise various workplace relations laws in Australia, such as providing bargaining access to both workers and businesses
5. To amend the Fair Work Act to make flexible working arrangements more accessible to workers. This will also help make unpaid parental leave more flexible and create better protection for employees against work related harassment and discrimination
6. To provide better access to training pathways and career opportunities for women, First Nations people, regional Australians and culturally and linguistically diverse people. The initiative also includes equity targets for training places, 1,000 digital apprenticeships in the Australian Public Service, and other measures designed to break down employment barriers
7. To increase the permanent Migration Program ceiling to 195,000 by 2023 to address workforce shortages
8. To offer extended visas and relax work restrictions for international students to create a stronger pipeline of skilled labour in the country. This initiative also provides additional funding to help resolve backlogs in the issuance of visas
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“We thank those who stepped up and spoke up at the Summit and the more than 100 roundtables held prior to the Summit in communities across the country, for their fresh ideas and open and constructive approach to addressing our nation’s big economic challenges,” the Albanese government said.
“Many of the ideas and suggestions raised will be explored further over the next 12 months as part of the Employment White Paper, which will further help shape the future of Australia’s labour market.”