Who’s in, and just as importantly who missed out, on Albo’s jobs summit

Mining magnate Andrew Forrest, Atlassian boss Scott Farquhar and Qantas CEO Alan Joyce have made the invite list to the jobs and skills summit.

Aug 31, 2022, updated Aug 31, 2022
Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's has announced a $500m investment to search for more critical minerals.. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese's has announced a $500m investment to search for more critical minerals.. (AAP Image/Jono Searle)

Just under 150 coveted spots have been snagged by unions, community organisations, universities, governments of all levels and business leaders.

As many as 28 union representatives have been invited, including participants from the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Community and Public Sector Union and the Construction Forestry Maritime Mining and Energy Union.

Coles and Woolworths bosses also made the cut, as did BHP and Rio Tinto chiefs.

Academics from several fields of expertise will attend, including industrial relations expert Professor Anthony Forsyth and gender and regulation expert Professor Sara Charlesworth.

Representatives from clean energy groups, gender equality groups and disability rights advocacy organisations will be at the summit.

Australian of the Year Dylan Alcott also made the list.

However the chief executives of Australia’s “big four” banks – among the largest employers in the country – have not been invited. It is understood Australian Banking Association CEO Anna Bligh, a former Queensland ALP Premier, will attend on their behalf.

One of the most difficult jobs for the treasurer and prime minister was deciding the attendee list, Deputy Prime Minister Richard Marles said.

“People are desperate to be there and that’s a great sign, people want to get around the table to have this conversation to solve this problem,” he told the Nine Network on Wednesday.

“We’re really confident that when you govern in this way, when you get people around the table and have the conversation that the country needs to have, we can get solutions.”

The Liberal Party will not be sending a representative, something deputy leader Sussan Ley said she had “not one single regret” about.

Opposition Leader Peter Dutton said the summit had a strong focus on the union movement, which would result in mass strikes.

“I don’t think for small business people the hopes are very high as to what can be achieved,” he told the ABC.

“It’s not in businesses’ interest, it’s not in our economy’s interests, it’s not in the workers’ interest either.”

Treasurer Jim Chalmers said the government was giving as many people a voice at the summit as possible, but it wouldn’t be the end of the conversation.

With the event due to start on Thursday, Anglicare Australia has called for an overhaul to employment services, now called Workforce Australia.

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The social advocacy group wants the services delivered by the government rather than outsourced to private providers.

It is also calling for the scrapping of mutual obligations – the tasks required of unemployed people to qualify for welfare payments – in favour of a tailored system to suit their needs.

Three major employer and business groups have outlined joint priorities ahead of the jobs and skills summit.

The Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Australian Industry Group and the Business Council of Australia called for a focus on lifting productivity to increase wages.

The three groups called for greater investment in skills and training, lifted workforce participation and a focus on equipping workers for the jobs of the future.

The business groups also want the workplace relations system to be improved to deliver higher wages while maintaining flexibility for employees, employers and the self-employed.






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