An employment white paper set to be released by Treasury next year will seek to provide a “comprehensive blueprint” for the future of Australia’s skills and labour market.
The white paper will be based on the outcomes of the government’s upcoming Jobs and Skills Summit, hosted with the aim to establish common ground between government, business, unions and civil society and work towards solutions to their shared challenges.
Maximising opportunities in the industries of the future is one of the five key themes of the summit, according to an issues paper released this week.
Participants will be asked to discuss what the government and business community can do to maximise the opportunities presented by structural trends impacting the economy including the climate and energy transition.
“Making the most of the opportunities created by these big structural transformations and creating the next generation of high value-adding jobs requires that we have the right skill mix for the long term,” the paper reads.
“At the same time, we need to ensure we are taking steps to build a more agile, skilled, inclusive and resilient labour force for the future.”
Maintaining full employment and growing productivity; boosting job security and wages; lifting participation and reducing barriers to employment; and delivering a high-quality labour force through skills, training and migration make up the summit’s four other key themes.
“The summit is all about bringing people together to address the big economic challenges which have been neglected for too long,” Treasurer Jim Chalmers said in a statement.
“There is an overarching focus on women’s experiences of the labour market and the challenge of ensuring women have equal opportunities and equal pay.”
The summit issues paper states that maximising opportunities from new, growing and strategically important industries will be critical to boosting productivity, sustaining full employment and ensuring Australia’s cities and regions are able to thrive.
While noting that the rise of the services structure had been the most significant structural shift of the past 20 years, the paper suggested that the transition to net zero would reshape the Australian economy over the next three decades.
Additionally, the adoption of new and emerging technologies was expected to lead to an increase in demand for new skills and business models.
“Demand for ‘green’ products will change the economics of manufacturing in Australia, with onshore production of lower cost renewable energy becoming more attractive,” the paper said.
“This transformation creates significant economic opportunities for regional Australia and workers in regional communities, including those working in the agriculture, manufacturing and resource sectors.”
Other topics up for discussion at the summit include navigating workforce shortages and ensuring the country’s labour force is more resilient and well equipped to respond to future changes in the structure of the economy.
“I am really pleased to see many employers, unions and other groups already making constructive contributions in the lead‑up to the summit,” Dr Chalmers said.
“My colleagues and I have also been holding roundtable discussions in communities across Australia, hearing local perspectives on the challenges in the labour market.”
Treasury will accept public submissions for its employment white paper following the conclusion of the summit, which will be held at Parliament House on 1-2 September.
Jon Bragg is a journalist for Momentum Media's Investor Daily, nestegg and ifa. He enjoys writing about a wide variety of financial topics and issues and exploring the many implications they have on all aspects of life.