Australia needs higher performing and more profitable and competitive workplaces to continue to drive productivity growth and position Australia to take advantage of the opportunities of the Asian Century. A key workplace level factor to achieve this is to boost workplace leadership capability.
The workplace relations debate in Australia has for too long focused on conflict between unions and employers and the transactions involved in setting pay and conditions. This has meant that ongoing, daily relationships that occur at the workplace have not been given the attention they deserve.
The recent independent review of the Fair Work Act found no evidence that our workplace relations laws impede productivity growth. Instead, there is a substantial and growing body of evidence that shows that leadership, workplace culture and management practices have a significant impact on workplace performance, productivity, profitability and innovation. It also shows that good leadership which empowers employees delivers greater job satisfaction, productivity and motivation.
Today I am announcing that the Gillard Government, in collaboration with industry, is providing $12 million over four years for the establishment of a new Centre for Workplace Leadership.
The Centre will encourage higher performing, innovative workplaces and stronger leadership capability in Australian workplaces, to boost productivity and ensure Australian workers truly have quality jobs.
The Centre for Workplace Leadership will be a flagship initiative of this Government and will focus in a very distinct and new way on leadership as it happens at the enterprise level every day. The Centre will:
- be the Australian expert on workplace management and leadership and improving the productivity of Australian workplaces through leadership;
- deliver quality training for leaders and managers on effective leadership, workplace culture and people management practices and connect leaders to training and development from other providers;
- promote and disseminate practical, relevant research, including surveys, on workplace change and improvement;
- lead the public debate on the importance of good leadership, workplace culture and people management and on the interdependencies between high performing and productive workplaces, effective management practices and quality jobs; and
- drive a broader movement to ‘do things differently at work’ by recognising that productivity ‘happens’ at work and that leadership is a crucial mechanism to improve productivity.
Working across all industries, sectors and regions of Australia, the Centre will improve the leadership capability in workplaces of all sizes, including businesses outside of our capital cities. There will be a significant focus on assisting small and medium enterprises.
The Centre is partly informed by the important discussions at the 2009 and 2011 Workplaces of the Future Forums, attended by leaders of industry, unions and employer associations, and academics, focusing on how Australian workplaces can be made more participative, fair, innovative, productive and sustainable by better using the skills and potential of every person at work. It is also part of the Government’s commitment to improve productivity, innovation, competition, and fairness in Australian workplaces.
The strategic direction and priorities of the Centre for Workplace Leadership will be initiated by the Advisory Group comprised of noted community leaders, including from business, unions and experts who are committed to building Australia’s leadership capability. This Advisory Group will provide expert advice to Government and to the Centre on the key issues and strategies that will help the Centre reach and assist workplaces across the country.
I have great pleasure in confirming that key leaders of industry, the union movement and academia have agreed to be members of this Advisory Group. Members of the Centre for Workplace Leadership Advisory Group are:
- Mr Richard Goyder – Managing Director, Wesfarmers Limited
- Mr John Borghetti – Chief Executive Officer, Virgin Australia Group
- Ms Ged Kearney – President, Australian Council of Trade Unions
- Ms Catriona Noble – Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, McDonald’s Australia
- Mr Bill Kelty AC – Former Secretary of the ACTU, Director of several public and private companies
- Professor Amanda Sinclair – (TBC), Melbourne Business School
- Ms Pip Marlow – Managing Director, Microsoft Australia
- Mr Ray Horsburgh AM – Chairman, TOLL Group
- Ms Lisa Paul AO PSM – Secretary, Australian Government Department of Education, Employment and Workplace Relations
- Mr Lindsay Fox AC – Founder and Chairman, LinFox
I will be announcing further detail in relation to the establishment of the Centre in the months to come, drawing upon the work of the Advisory Group.
Media Contact: Jessica Lindell 0408 642 804