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September 28, 2016

Today in Wangara, the Shadow Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Brendan O’Connor, joined the Member for Cowan, Dr Anne Aly, to talk with workers, employers and apprentices about local jobs, the challenges facing workers today and the jobs of the future.

At a meeting with Dr Aly, Mr O’Connor heard from a range of attendees about the challenges faced by local jobseekers and employers, including unemployment, underemployment, the need to retain and grow skills, and the growing incidence of insecure work.

For three years the Abbott-Turnbull Government has failed to outline a plan for jobs in Australia, which is a particular concern for West Australians as the job market transitions from the mining boom.

There are parts of Cowan with an unemployment rate higher than the average across the State at 6.3 per cent.

Since the election of Liberal Governments in Canberra and Perth, West Australians have seen their unemployment rate rise from 4.6 per cent under Labor to 6.3 per cent under the Liberals. There are now 26,000 more West Australians unemployed.

Labor wants to ensure the benefits of the economic growth and prosperity Western Australia has accumulated over the mining boom are shared through inclusive growth and decent jobs and not squandered by lazy Liberal Governments worried about their own internal battles – something that should be considered with the upcoming State election.

Now is not the time to be cutting penalty rates and giving a $50 billion tax cut to big business and the banks. Now is the time to be investing in industry, manufacturing and the high-skilled, high-wage jobs of the future

Underemployment – that is people who want more work but cannot find it – has never been higher. There are more than one million of our fellow Australians in this position right now. Participation levels in the workforce are at 64.7 per cent – the lowest it has been in over a year.

The future of work is coming into sharp focus at a point when the number of full-time jobs in Western Australia has steadily fallen for the last 18 months from 955,000 to 904,000.

Labor’s consultative approach is to work with all affected stakeholders including employers, employer groups, industry, unions and workers to put jobs first and grow job opportunities in Cowan.