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More flexibility for workforce of tomorrow needed.



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Media Release The Hon Fran Bailey, MP

13 April 2006

MORE FLEXIBILITY FOR WORKFORCE OF TOMORROW NEEDED 06/139

Small businesses will need to use their inherent flexibility and innovation to meet their future workforce needs, the Minister for Small Business and Tourism, Fran Bailey, said today at a major industry breakfast in Dubbo.

Speaking at the Workforce Tomorrow Industry and Employer Breakfast, Fran Bailey said with a booming economy and low unemployment, small businesses will need to adapt to a more competitive labor market to recruit and retain the right staff.

“Tomorrow’s workforce will be more diverse, more flexible and more in demand than ever before,” Fran Bailey, Minister for Small Business and Tourism, said today.

“With an ageing population, more Australians will be looking to part-time work and more flexible working arrangements. This presents both a challenge and an opportunity for small business.

“The challenge is preparing for the impact of an ageing population. The opportunity is to utilise the inherent flexibility of small businesses to attract and retain staff by offering more flexible workplace arrangements.

“Small businesses are already using AWAs to negotiate workplace arrangement with employers to mutual benefit, such as family leave and work from home arrangements. In return, small businesses get a more flexible, productive and more loyal workforce.”

The Workforce Tomorrow, Adapting to a more diverse Australian labour market report released late last year, predicts that Australia faces a potential shortfall of 195,000 workers over the next five years.

To help address this issue, the Australian Government is encouraging people to move from welfare to work and introduced more flexible workplace arrangements. Small businesses and major employers are urged to take advantage of these policies to help secure their future workforce needs.

Media Contact: Kevin Lowe, (02) 6277 7450, 0408 404 468 Email: kevin.lowe@industry.gov.au

CMR 06-189