HSV Submissions – May 1995

Workforce of the Future – Supplementary submission

Submitted 10 May 1995 to the House of Representatives Standing Committee on Long Term Strategies, Parliament of Australia

The House of Representatives Standing Committee on Long Term Strategies invited HSV to make a supplementary submission on The Work Force of the Future in view of the recent programs of Working Nation and other developments since the inquiry started in 1994.

In response to some of the terms of reference we made the following main points:

  1. Profound social and economic changes will occur as the nature of work alters; there is potential for social damage; the Working Nation program addresses some of these issues, but other measures are necessary.
  2. The well-being of the nation is the government’s responsibility; job creation should remain a high priority; co-operatives and cottage industries should be assisted in initial stages; those with creative talents should be subsidised until their products become commercially viable.
  3. Benefits of competitiveness notwithstanding, market forces cannot be relied on to provide equality of access to resources.
  4. The speed and variety of technological changes makes the future ever more unpredictable. But further automation, labour- and time-saving devices and systems are inevitable and certain to further reduce the volume of available work, particularly of the less skilled type.
  5. Strong trends indicate that part-time, casual and contracted for work projects will become the norm in the developed countries.
  6. Education is of paramount importance; it is encouraging to see a greatly increased percentage of school students completing year 12, and the higher tertiary quotas. But quite early in schooling, special programs should engender mechanisms for coping with a rapidly changing world that loses its traditional anchors and certainties, most vitally the skills of continuing learning, flexibility and a generalist base of skills to ensure future flexibility.

We made brief comments on other questions asked: social implications (and suggested a task force to monitor those), aspirations, expectations and attitudes to work, stress in adaptation to change, new ways of valuing time, decentralisation and regional development.

Several references were quoted, others enclosed. A covering note acknowledged the late Senator Olive Zakharov’s contribution to this submission.

Published: Victorian Humanist, June 1995: 4

Feedback on the inquiry into The Workforce of the Future

The following points are the key recommendations made for Federal Government consideration. They are taken directly from the report on The Workforce of the Future and foreshadow the changing needs of future workplace practices. The report recommends that:

  • the Government examine measures which may facilitate tendencies to outsource work from the home, government administration and industry (including primary industry), as outsourcing will be a major contribution to employment.
  • the Government take note of Australia’s significant lack of internationally recognised brand names (such Volvo from Sweden), especially in consumer goods, the result of foreign ownership of key industrial sectors (motor vehicles, computers, electronics, chemical) and the failure of Australian industry to take up new challenges (e.g., CSIRO’s “gene shears”), and to provide resources to create an “inventory” of high value-added Australian products.
  • in view of the increasing importance of service employment to the future economic development of the nation, a continuing policy emphasis should be placed on the co-ordination of Government Programs, to enhance the training of the work force in that sector, and the further development of its export potential.
  • the Government adopt a National Information Policy which sets out the social, economic and cultural implications of the “information revolution”, especially the possibility of a growing division between the “information rich” and the “information poor” and the serious impact this will have on under-skilled individuals, groups and regions in Australia.
  • a peak body for TAFE be set up, analogous to the Australian Vice Chancellors’ Committee, to assist in the co-ordination of TAFE resources, and engage in medium and long-term planning.
  • the Government provide a rapid and comprehensive response to the Karpin Report on the Education and Training of Management.
  • the Government requests the Australian Bureau of Statistics to review the appropriateness of their existing data collection methodology, in consultation with relevant industry sectors, indicating the significance of ‘information’ and domestic or quasi-domestic service employment.
  • the concept of mandatory retirement with its concept of “statutory senility” and that people age uniformly be abolished, but that voluntary retirement for both women and men should be possible without reference to gender differentiation.
  • policies be developed to recognise the significance of the “third age”, to assist them to maintain their independence outside institutions as long as possible, and to promote the contribution of volunteers.
  • the Government investigate ways to enable workers to be able to phase down working hours before retirement without loss of superannuation benefits.

Published: Victorian Humanist, August 1995: 4

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