International Engagement on Employment issues

The Employment group informs the department's domestic policy work through multilateral engagement, conducting research and bilateral engagement.

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The Group of 20 (G20)

The G20 is the leading forum for international economic cooperation. Each year, G20 Leaders and Ministers meet to discuss ways to strengthen the global economy.

Membership of the G20 includes 19 countries plus the European Union, and guest countries invited by the host. Members meet regularly to discuss ways to promote more inclusive economic growth and review progress on policy commitments.

Employment issues are central to the G20 agenda. Policy priorities that regularly feature in the G20 employment process are:

  • Women’s labour force participation
  • Skills and training
  • New forms of work
  • Social protection.

The Department represents Australia in the G20 Employment Working Group.

This group meets several times a year to prepare the yearly G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting. The group develops advice for G20 Labour and Employment Ministers and G20 Leaders on a wide range of policy issues.

Australia hosted the G20 Labour and Employment Ministers’ Meeting in Melbourne in 2014. A major outcome was an agreement on:

  • Policy priorities for boosting women’s labour force participation
  • A goal to reduce the gender gap in participation rates by 2025.

In 2023, the G20 is hosted by India. The three policy priorities for consideration by Ministers are:

  • Addressing global skills gaps
  • Social protection for those in the gig and platform economy
  • Sustainable financing of social security.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD)

Australia has been an active member of OECD since 1971. The Department’s engagement with the OECD provides the means to influence and evaluate international employment, skills and labour market policies and programs. The Department also initiates and contributes to OECD research on key issues that can enhance domestic policy development.

The Department leads Australia’s engagement with the following OECD committees:

  • Employment Labour and Social Affairs
  • Centre for Skills, and
  • Local Employment and Economic Development.

Our engagement with the OECD helps us:

  • Influence international economic and labour market agendas, and
  • Contribute to global policy dialogue on employment and skills issues.

Australia maintains a Permanent Delegation to the OECD in Paris, led by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the OECD.

The Minister-Counsellor (Employment and Education) is part of this Delegation and represents the Department in all OECD activities relating to employment, skills, labour, migration, youth and workplace relations. Ms Alex Gordon is the current Minister-Counsellor.

Maintaining a permanent presence in the Australian Delegation to the OECD creates opportunities to:

  • Grow awareness and collaboration on domestic and regional interests and policy objectives and,
  • Exchange best practices, ideas and research to inform our domestic evidence base.

Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC)

The Department contributes to Australia’s engagement with the APEC’s Human Resources Development Working Group (HRDWG). Australia has been a member of the HRDWG since its inception in the early 1990s. This forum facilitates information sharing and forming connections with counterparts in other Asia-Pacific economies on employment, skills, labour and workplace relations issues.

World Association of Public Employment Services (WAPES)

The Department oversees engagement with the WAPES. This global forum facilitates information sharing between Public Employment Services. This is delivered through various conferences, workshops, webinars and training opportunities each year.

Windsor Conference

The Windsor Conference is held every eighteen months to two years and provides a forum for strategic discussions between the Department and five other countries (Canada, United Kingdom, Ireland, New Zealand and the United States), covering employment and social affairs.

International Labour Organization (ILO)

The Department engages with the ILO through our workplace relations group. See International Engagement on labour issues for more information.