Working Future – White Paper on jobs and opportunities

The Albanese Government today releases the Employment White Paper, Working Future – a roadmap to ensure more Australians can make the most of the big shifts underway in the economy and our society over the coming decades.

Working Future presents a vision for a dynamic and inclusive labour market in which everyone has the opportunity for secure, fairly paid work and people, businesses and communities can be beneficiaries of change and thrive.

The Government’s vision is underpinned by five ambitious objectives, including a new, bolder full employment objective. We want to create an economy where everyone who wants a job is able to find one without having to search for too long.

The document presents 31 future reform directions that will guide policymaking of government as well as the work of industry, unions, the education sector and civil society.

Building on the foundation of last year’s Jobs and Skills Summit, Working Future has been informed by extensive consultation and input from across government and more than 400 valuable submissions from stakeholders in every state and territory.

As part of the White Paper, the Government will take nine immediate steps including to:

  1. progress scoping work on a National Skills Passport in consultation with employers, unions, the tertiary education sector and governments, to help workers demonstrate and promote their qualifications and businesses to find more skilled workers.
  2. turbocharge TAFE Centres of Excellence with up to six to begin developing courses in 2024, working with the states and territories and education providers to design world-leading skills and curriculum.
  3. accelerate the take up of higher apprenticeships in the priority areas of net zero, care, and digitalisation.
  4. permanently extend the Work Bonus measure for older pensioners and eligible veterans, giving them the option to earn more income from working without reducing their pension.
  5. smooth the transition to work for many income support recipients by doubling the period they can receive a nil rate of payment, allowing them to retain access to social security benefits such as concession cards for longer when they first get back into work.
  6. address labour market data gaps to support policy development and program delivery.
  7. back social enterprises to address persistent labour market disadvantage, focusing on the role they could play in employment services and in creating jobs and career pathways.
  8. reform the Local Jobs Program to improve its flexibility and provide practical initiatives and action to better help jobseekers
  9. collaborate with the Coalition of Peaks and First Nations stakeholders to scope an economic partnership.

These new initiatives build on the Albanese Government’s substantial reforms to date.

For example, we have provided fee-free TAFE places to grow our skilled workforce, established Jobs and Skills Australia to inform workforce planning, and have reviewed our migration system.

We are reforming our workplace relations system, including putting gender equality and job security at the heart of the Fair Work system, and updating our bargaining system to ensure all workers and businesses can negotiate in good faith for agreements that benefit them.

Other significant work underway includes negotiating a new National Skills Agreement with states and territories and the Australian Universities Accord process, which both aim to enhance our tertiary education sector.

The Albanese Government is also reforming the Community Development Program, Disability Employment Services model and ParentsNext to begin shifting the focus of employment services to building capacity.

Working Future will guide and complement this and other work across government.

It provides the roadmap for Australia to build a bigger, better-trained and more productive workforce – to boost incomes and living standards and create more opportunities for Australians to participate to their full potential.

Working Future will be central to the Albanese Government’s plans to build the workforce we need for a stronger, fairer and more inclusive economy into the future.

As at 25 September 2023.