Early Help for Unemployed Important to Lift Participation

Business Council of Australia Chief Executive Katie Lahey welcomes the announcement by the federal government of immediate assistance for workers facing unemployment as a result of the global economic downturn.

“Everyone hopes we can minimise the impact of the global downturn on Australia. There is nonetheless a risk that unemployment will rise significantly before the downturn runs its course,” Ms Lahey said.

“The longer a person stays out of work, the more difficult the task of returning to employment can become.

“We need to limit the effect of the downturn on individuals and the economy in order to position Australia more strongly for recovery. Measures to reduce the time an employee spends out of the workforce will be vital in achieving this,” she said.

Ms Lahey said skills and development training should focus on investing in the skills that would be needed for jobs in the near future.

“There is expected to be a growing requirement for skilled workers in areas of social and economic infrastructure, such as in the health and aged care sectors,” she said.

“Training and skills development should also ensure we are training people of all ages, not just young people. We must ensure we have as many workers as possible, from all age groups, as our population ages in the years ahead.

“Training should also build on existing skills so we are enhancing the capabilities of our unemployed people to work in emerging job areas.”

Ms Lahey said the BCA looked forward to continuing to work with the government in ensuring Australia’s employment and training programs were effectively supporting growth and productivity in the years ahead.