Release type: Media Release


International Labour Organization crucial to world economic recovery


The Hon Bill Shorten MP
Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations, Financial Services and Superannuation

The role of the International Labour Organization (ILO) has never been more important as the world recovers from the global financial crisis.

Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations Bill Shorten today returned from the 101st session of the ILO International Labour Conference in Geneva—his first as Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations.

“Good jobs are the most important thing for people and the key to a strong recovery. In the ILO we have an organisation that supports an agenda of employment, labour rights, social protection and social dialogue,” Mr Shorten said.

While in Geneva, Mr Shorten spoke with ministers from the Asia–Pacific and Europe about how best to promote economic growth and good, productive jobs. He also met with exiled Burmese trade unionists and the Burmese Minister for Labour to discuss implementation of reform and their recent experiences.

The Minister participated in a formal ILO panel discussing the lessons to emerge from the global financial crisis, where he outlined the Australian Government’s response to the crisis.

“There was a great deal of interest from other countries in how the Australian economy has performed so well during the global crisis, particularly in comparison with other industrial countries,” he said.

“We can never forget what drives our economic and social system—productive people. That’s why the Gillard Government took a series of timely and decisive measures to support growth and jobs and protect the wellbeing of Australians.”

Mr Shorten also congratulated Mr Guy Ryder from the United Kingdom on his recent appointment as ILO Director-General. As Chair of the ILO Governing Body, Australia played a key role in overseeing the fair and transparent election process.

Mr Ryder will replace Mr Juan Somavia, who has served as Director-General since 1999.

“Australia looks forward to working closely with Mr Ryder and the ILO to ensure that the creation of good jobs remains a global priority,” Mr Shorten said.