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Bureau for labour market research

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The Hon. Ian Viner, MP f · 1*'7! 129/79


The Minister for Employment and Youth Affairs, Mr Ian Viner, today announced that the Government is to establish a Bureau for Labour Market Research.

Mr Viner said that in the last few years a number of reports on labour market matters - the Hancock Report on CES Statistics 1973) the Cochrane Report on Labour Market Training 197^, the OECD examination of Australia's manpower policy 19751 and, most recently, the Crawford and Williams Reports - had pointed

to a need to improve understanding of the operation of the labour market and the characteristics of the labour force.

The Minister said that the Bureau will meet the requirements of these reports. It will sponsor research, co-ordinate existing research activity and provide a focal point for expertise and information and analysis on labour market matters.

"The Bureau for Labour Market Research will be part of my Department and will have similar status to other Bureaux such as the Bureaux of Industry Economics, Agricultural Economics and Transport Economics. Its Director will have

direct access to the Minister, and it will have a professional staff of about fifty who will be progressively recruited," Mr Viner added.

The OECD Review of Manpower Policy in Australia 1975, suggested that it was fundamental to an active manpower policy and a sound industrial relations system to have.adequate statistics , research and a systematic approach to the develop­ ment and continuing evaluation of policy. It went on to say

that: "At the present stage, the development of statistical research activities for a mature and sophisticated industrial country, such as Australia, seems particularly inadequate for

private and public decision making in the labour market and industrial relations spheres..... We were struck by the remarkable degree of unanimity among employers, unions, academic experts and State and Federal Government officials, respecting the importance of, and need f or, a much improved information base for policy-making in the manpower and industrial relations fields."

Mr Viner continued:

"Despite the fact that many problems are known to exist in the labour market and that many aspects of labour market behaviour are the subject of debate and controversy, very little research into the operation of the labour market has

in the past been undertaken in Australia."

The Williams Report on Education and Training made the specific recommendation that the Department of Employment and Youth Affairs acquire a research capacity and sponsor research on manpower studies - one of 13 recommendations for manpower research, analysis and forecasting made by the Committee.



The Crawford Report on Structural Adjustment recommended the establishment of a single co-ordinating authority to undertake manpower planning. It specifically endorsed the need for expanded effort on manpower research and analysis.

Mr Viner said that the establishment of a Bureau for Labour Market Research would provide the Government with an expert body within the Department of Employment and Youth Affairs able to co-ordinate research efforts and improve analysis

of the labour market and provide much more extensive labour market forecasting.

Mr Viner said:

"Australia faces major changes in the 1980s. There is a need to move now to assess the skill shortages and training requirements that will be necessary to support the economic growth and development of the next decade. The Government is

acting to establish a Bureau now that will provide vital analysis to aid the Government in framing its manpower policies to meet the requirements of the 1980s and to ensure that Australia is in a position to respond to major develop­ ments that will occur throughout that decade and beyond".

"In Australia there is insufficient research and analysis of the labour market to allow informed judgements to be made about whether government policy is effective. For example, there is little research into the effects of technological

change and the impact of educational qualifications and training on the needs of industry. The Government has recognised that these and other deficiencies are a handicap to policy development".

"We have moved to overcome some of the more important statistical gaps by increasing the range and amount of manpower data collected by the Statistician. Now we propose to establish a research body to investigate other issues

arising in the labour market", Mr Viner said.