Bill's Media Releases

Strengthening Business through Diversity

Minister for Employment Bill Shorten will join with more than 100 employers today to discuss ways to increase to workforce participation, particularly for mature aged workers.

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 or stay in employment.

Minister Shorten said “the Gillard Government is reinforcing its commitment to employment diversity and I want to keep having conversations with employers right around the country on increasing diversity in our workplaces.”

"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. Having a good job is important for our identities and confidence.”

The forum will include a panel discussion led by the ABC’s Tony Jones, with panel members including Mr Innes Willox, Chief Executive of Australian Industry Group, and Mr Peter Wilson AM, National President of the Australian Human Resources Institute.

Participants will also hear how businesses can take advantage of Government support programs and financial incentives to help employers diversify their workforce.

“In a competitive labour market, employers need to be innovative when it comes to filling job vacancies,” Mr Shorten said.

“Diversifying your workforce puts you a step ahead, and this forum is about working with employers to assist them to employ a diverse workforce and hearing how Government can better support employers achieve this.

“The Government is serious about supporting diverse workplaces and I encourage employers to take advantage of the services being offered.”

The forum is part of the Gillard Government’s Building Australia’s Future Workforce (BAFW) package, providing a $3.02 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.

Minister Shorten’s media contact: Jessica Lindell 0408 642 804