CANBERRA, Australia — An elected Labor government will launch an in-depth study charting the path to full employment in a bid to create a post-pandemic jobs boom in Australia.
Opposition Leader Anthony Albanese has pledged to commission a full employment white paper with input from government, industry and union experts.
The report will devise a plan to drive down unemployment and underemployment while hunting for solutions to reduce insecure work.
In a speech to the National Press Club in the national capital Canberra, Albanese on July 2 signaled a shift away from focusing on the headline unemployment rate.
He argued the raw number masks a tough reality for the 1.7 million Australians looking for work or more hours with an estimated four million people in insecure jobs.
“Full employment is about secure work which will assist those currently in work through driving up wages,” Albanese said.
“It will cut the gender pay gap and narrow the chasms that divide Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australia.”
Labor’s plan would focus on the growth of renewable energy jobs and the expansion of the aged care, child care, and disability care sectors.
The white paper would also focus on job opportunities for people receiving the disability pension.
It mirrors war-time Labor prime minister John Curtin’s move to commission a similar paper led by HC “Nugget” Coombs.
“This helped to transform the post-war environment, setting up a boom that spanned two decades during which Australia’s previously double-digit unemployment rate sat at around 2 percent,” Albanese will say.
“The white paper was progressive. It welcomed technological changes that would boost productivity, rejected the idea of make-work jobs, and talked about the importance of work for dignity.”
An Albanese Labor government would also hold a national jobs summit soon after being elected.
The latest unemployment figures showed the jobless rate dropped sharply to 5.1 percent, with 115,200 people joining the workforce in May.
The Reserve Bank of Australia has set a goal of achieving full employment.
Albanese also accused the prime minister of squandering major advantages through bungling the vaccine rollout.
He says the nation needs to craft its own post-pandemic future.
“As prime minister, I want our country to seize this once-in-a-century moment to do just that,” Albanese said.
“It is a future we can shape with a focus on productivity, on growth, on participation, and above all, on secure jobs.”
A federal election is due between August and May.
(Edited by Vaibhav Pawar and Krishna Kakani)
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