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Position paper

This paper for the Jobs and Skills Summit outlines a policy agenda to achieve, sustain, and make the most of full employment in Australia.

This has a different meaning today to the early 1970s. Now it is as much about adequate, regular hours of employment and steady growth in real incomes as keeping unemployment low.

At its heart, it means that people seeking employment or more paid hours can find them, and the pay and the quality of those jobs improves so that the fruits of economic growth are more fairly shared and no one is left behind.

Once Australia commits to full employment, a range of policy implications follow. Some policies are needed to achieve and sustain full employment, others are needed to realise the benefits of full employment.

Key priorities:

  • A shared commitment to full employment, and fairer ways to deal with inflationary pressures and labour and skills shortages than excessive reliance on higher interest rates or austerity policies, including by lifting productivity.
  • A shared commitment to prevent and reduce long-term unemployment, including a flexible Jobs and Training Offer for people on unemployment payments for more than 12 months.
  • Reform employment services to move away from the present harmful compliance approach towards genuine practical help to secure employment.
  • Lift minimum wages and establish a legislative link between growth in wages and Jobseeker payments.
  • Promote a robust care sector with quality jobs and services through adequately funded standards for accredited training and staffing levels, investing in sector-specific skills and training, lifting pay and improving job security.



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