ACOSS, BCA and ACTU back full employment as a key economic goal ahead of summit

Achieving and sustaining full employment should be a guiding framework of the Jobs and Skills Summit and white paper process according to a joint policy paper released this morning by ACOSS, the BCA and the ACTU.

While the Albanese Government’s commitment to full employment is encouraging, success is by no means assured, and the paper lays out a series of policy recommendations, for consideration as part of a wider full employment strategy.

These include:
• containing inflation in the prices of goods and services
• Improving productivity and growth in real wages and other incomes
• Reducing inequity and removing barriers to participation in the labour market
• Investing in skills and training
• Building a more sustainable and diverse industry base

The goal of this plan must be ensuring that people can obtain the jobs and paid working hours they need, that the quality and security of jobs and real incomes – including income supports – are improving, productivity is improving, the benefits are shared, and groups aren’t left behind.

Our organisations have agreed steps that we believe would make a difference. Each of our organisations will advance more detailed proposals in our own right, or with others.

Quotes attributable to ACOSS Acting CEO Edwina MacDonald:
“This week’s Jobs Summit and current low unemployment provide an historic opportunity for the Government to secure full employment so that people seeking paid work or more hours can get them.

“If the hundreds of thousands of people who are looking for paid work are supported to join the workforce, that will be a win for those currently left out, a win for employers, and a big step towards Full Employment in Australia.

“We proudly stand with unions and business ready to work together with Government to find less brutal ways to contain inflation and address labour shortages, so that our incomes can grow again, the quality of jobs – including in essential care services – improves, and no one is left behind.”

Quotes attributable to BCA CEO Jennifer Westacott:
“Business, unions and civil society groups agree that a strong Australia is one that sees the benefits of a stronger and more productive, competitive economy shared in better jobs, growing wages and the ability of all Australians to get ahead.

“Keeping unemployment at record lows and sustaining wages growth will be a major challenge. To get there Australia must drive stronger economic performance by making itself more competitive, boosting productivity, and attracting the investment needed diversify our industrial base, do new things and create new opportunities.”

Quotes attributable to ACTU President Michele O’Neil:
“We welcome the commitment of the Albanese Government to achieving full employment, but more needs to be done.

“This paper demonstrates the broad agreement between employers, social services and unions on policy which would drive employment, reverse the decline in real wages and deliver sustained economic growth.

Read the full joint statement here