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Prime Minister Anthony Albanese. Source: The Australian Government / Wikimedia Commons

‘Reset the economy’: national jobs summit scheduled for September

The Albanese Labor Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit, promised back in May on the election trail, is slated to take place at the Parliament House in Canberra this September.

Scheduled for 1 and 2 September, it aims to bring together around 100 businesses, unions, and other stakeholders.

“Our Government took office at a time of rising inflation and interest rates, falling real wages and a trillion dollars in debt which is now more expensive to service,” read the government announcement.

“Our goal is to build a bigger, better-trained and more productive workforce; boost incomes and living standards; and create more opportunities for more Australians to get ahead and to reach their aspirations.”

The jobs summit will be led by Prime Minister Albanese and Treasurer Jim Chalmers. It will also include key contributions from Finance Minister and Minister for Women Katy Gallagher toward the labour market for women.

Other ministers who will lead discussions in specific areas include Minister Brendan O’Connor for skills and training; Minister Ed Husic for industry; and Minister Amanda Rishworth for social services.

Additional topics on the agenda are increasing productivity, addressing skills shortages, sustainable wage growth, improving migration settings (such as pending visa applications), and maximising jobs from renewable energy industries.

The outcomes of the Summit will inform the Employment White Paper, led by Treasury, to be submitted in 12 months.

The Business Council of Australia has called it “a chance to reset the economy.”

“Our economy is poised for a world beating recovery but it hinges on our ability to bring everyone to the table and find common purpose to sustainably drive new investment, productivity and stronger growth,” said Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott.

In June, ABS data revealed that almost a third of employing businesses are still struggling to find staff. The Australian Retailers Association (ARA) hopes these talks can be “a golden opportunity” to address Australia’s existing labour and skill shortages.

“Businesses just simply can’t find enough staff, be they customer facing roles or more specialist positions in data and digital. From our smallest cafes to our largest multi-nationals, the issue is widespread,” noted ARA CEO Paul Zahra.

“There are nearly half a million job vacancies across the country, including over 40,000 in retail trade alone, which is an increase of nearly 40 per cent in just three months. The staffing challenge is a handbrake for business, and many are not trading at their full potential.”

Summit attendance will be limited and by invitation only. Qantas has confirmed its representatives will be in attendance, as has the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI).

READ MORE: Should I hire temporary staff?

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Rhea Laxmi Nath

Rhea Laxmi Nath

Rhea L Nath is a Sydney-based writer and editor. In 2022, she was named Young Journalist of the Year at the NSW Premier's Multicultural Communications Awards.

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