26 September 2023




Federal Member for Blair Shayne Neumann has said the Albanese Labor Government’s Employment White Paper would deliver a roadmap to ensure more local employers and workers in his electorate were set up to make the most of the big shifts underway in the economy and society over the coming decades.

Working Future: The Australian Government’s White Paper on Jobs and Opportunities was released on Monday and presents a vision for a dynamic and inclusive labour market in which everyone can secure, fairly paid work.

The Government’s vision is underpinned by five ambitious objectives, including a new, bolder full employment objective 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 to guide government policymaking, as well as industry, unions, the education sector and civil society.

Mr Neumann said the White Paper builds on the foundation of last year’s Jobs and Skills Summit, and was informed by extensive consultation and input from across government and more than 400 valuable submissions from stakeholders in every state and territory.

“This included feedback from the Blair Jobs Summit I convened in August last year, which raised issues around youth unemployment, the effectiveness of employment training and education, and the impact of housing supply and affordability on skills shortages in our region,” he said.  

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.

Mr Neumann said these new initiatives build on the Government’s substantial reforms to date, which are supporting local jobs and jobseekers in Ipswich, the Somerset Region and Karana Downs area, and local businesses that needed more skilled workers.

“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.

“The Albanese Government is reforming Indigenous employment programs, the Disability Employment Services model and welfare-to-work programs to begin shifting the focus of employment services to building capacity.

“The local economy in Blair has had its challenges in recent years and I know a lot of people are doing it tough. There are huge opportunities from new investments in areas like food and beverage manufacturing, biotech and logistics, of which I have been very supportive. 

“The White Paper and other policy initiatives will help boots local workers’ wages, create good secure jobs, and allow locals to get the skills they need for the jobs of tomorrow.

“It will help secure more opportunities for disadvantaged people in our community, including our youth and mature age workers, First Nations, people from Culturally and Linguistically Diverse backgrounds, people with a disability and veterans.

“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,” Mr Neumann said.

The White Paper can be found here: https://treasury.gov.au/employment-whitepaper/final-report