The Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL) welcomes the ambition for sustained and inclusive full employment and commitment to reform Australia’s broken employment services system in the Australian Government’s White Paper on Jobs and Opportunities.
Working Future is the first White Paper on domestic policy in nearly a decade and presents a roadmap for building a fair and inclusive labour market and economy where all Australians can thrive.
“The White Paper recognises Australians who are disadvantaged in the labour market need a different deal and a different employment services system,” BSL Executive Director Travers McLeod said.
“The Government has listened to people with lived experience and from diverse backgrounds who are among the 2.8 million people in Australia who want to work, or want to work more hours than they do, and who have been let down by the systems meant to help them.
“At the Jobs and Skills Summit held last year and in consultations since, people supported by BSL at different ages and stages have explained how Australia’s approach to employment has let them down.
“They told the Government the system doesn’t build capability and confidence in the places and situations disadvantaged jobseekers find themselves, places where the things needed to build a career – like transport, early learning, housing, care, and training – are often lacking.
“Working Future makes it clear these voices have been heard and there is a national commitment to overcoming these barriers to employment and broadening opportunity so Australians can enjoy decent, secure employment regardless of who they are or where they live. We are pleased there is also a commitment to include people who have been and are out of work in co-designing the new system.
Working Future acknowledges Australia can be much more ambitious in achieving full employment and that our employment services system needs a serious overhaul to equip Australia for the future.
“Investing in capability and growing opportunities for participation in our economy and society is at the heart of BSL’s work to prevent and alleviate poverty. It is encouraging to see immediate action on this in the White Paper. We will continue to work with the Government to bring the eight principles outlined for reforming Australia’s employment services system to life through the review of Workforce Australia.
“Working Future calls out the need for place-based responses to meet current skill and labour demand, including reforming the Local Jobs Program, which BSL hopes is a catalyst to shift towards a model that prioritises place-based and people-centred collaboration, focused on local communities and employers.
“The strong focus on early learning in Working Future is also critical and highlights how a commitment to investing in foundational skills and universal services begins with early childhood education and care.
“If the Government seizes this once-in-a-generation opportunity to reshape our approach to employment in Australia – starting from early childhood and continuing throughout the life course – we’ll have a system in place that lifts people up, leaves no one behind, and delivers an enormous dividend for all Australians.”
The Brotherhood of St. Laurence (BSL) is a social justice organisation working to prevent and alleviate poverty across Australia.
Travers McLeod, BSL Executive Director, is available for media comment.
For media enquiries contact: Steph Jones – 0482 163 395 or firstname.lastname@example.org