Bill's Media Releases

Boosting diversity in the workplace

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten will meet with employers in Melbourne today to discuss ways to increase workforce participation, particularly for people with disability.

 Today’s discussion is part of the Gillard Government’s program of initiatives for employers to support people with disability, mature age, the very long term unemployed, people from culturally and linguistically diverse backgrounds and indigenous Australians, find employment and stay in employment.

 “To remain competitive, and to attract and recruit the people they need, employers must keep up with change,” Mr Shorten said.

 “There is a clear business case for employing a diverse workforce.”

 “The Australian economy continues to change, and so do our workers. Employers can no longer afford to overlook a job candidate because they don’t fit the preconceived stereotype of what a worker should be.

“Age, disability, cultural background or other factors should not be barriers to employing someone.”

 The forum will include a panel discussion led by Jenny Brockie, with panel members including Mr Peter Anderson, Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and Ms Julie Bisinella from ANZ.

 Mr Shorten will also launch the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry guide Employ Outside the Box: the Business Case for Employing People with Disability, which outlines the advantages that employees with disability bring to business.

 “People with disability often find it difficult to get a start,” Mr Shorten said.

 “These are people who want to work, people who in many cases have qualifications, and people who can make a valuable contribution to your business.”

 “The Gillard Government is investing more than ever in helping people with disability to gain employment, by providing free recruitment and job matching services through the Disability Employment Services.”

 “Employers can access wage subsidies ranging from $1,500 up to $5,700, as well as funding for workplace modifications, assistive technology and awareness training.”

 The forum is part of the Gillard Government’s Building Australia’s Future Workforce package, a $3 billion investment over six years to deliver the skilled workers the economy needs and ensure more Australians, including the most vulnerable job seekers, can take advantage of new opportunities and share in the nation’s prosperity.

 Mr Shorten’s Media Contact: Jessica Lindell 0408 642 804