Release type: Joint Media Release

Date:

Historic agreement to fund labour programs in the Asia-Pacific

Ministers:

The Hon Julia Gillard MP
Minister for Education. Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations
Minister for Social Inclusion
Deputy Prime Minister

Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard and Minister for Employment Participation Mark Arbib today formalised an historic partnership between Australia and the International Labour Organisation to support jobs for people in the Asia-Pacific.

The Australia-ILO Partnership Agreement 2010-2015 will support economic and employment growth, increasing labour standards and improving living conditions by supporting quality jobs.

Minister Arbib signed the agreement on behalf of the Australian Government while attending the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ meeting in Washington DC. The agreement was co-signed by the ILO.

The agreement is the first time the Australian Government has funded an overarching package of labour programs through the ILO. It provides $15 million funding in the first two years.

In keeping with the ILO’s inclusive structure, the agreement was developed in consultation with the Australian Council of Trade Unions, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Industry Group.

“The Australian Government welcomes this new way to partner with the ILO to improve the lives of working people in our region,” Senator Arbib said.

“Programs like the ILO’s Better Work Program can make a real difference in reducing poverty, by improving working conditions and living standards for workers, while at the same time supporting businesses.

“The partnership comes at a critical time for workers and industries in the region, which are dealing with the impact of the global recession.”

Senator Arbib said the agreement was part of the Australian Government’s commitment to the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals to advance full and productive employment and decent work for all, including for women and young people.

Areas funded under this partnership include the Better Work Program, labour law reform, a Pacific growth and employment plan, youth employment in Timor Leste, green jobs and labour migration governance.