Australian employer and trade union organisations unite to provide technical expertise and industry support; unemployed Pacific Island youth main beneficiaries.
Today in Port Moresby, senior officers of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) and the Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU) jointly launched the in-country stage of a project designed to improve vocational skills and employment opportunities for young people and their families in the Pacific Island countries.
The project is being undertaken in Papua New Guinea with a focus on the transport sector, and in Vanuatu, focused on tourism.
A high-level taskforce comprising industry and union leaders in PNG’s transport sector, supported by local organisations and PNG authorities, has been formed to take next steps in building skills capacity and the level of local employment in Australian companies operating in the industry.
In launching the PNG in-country phase of the Pacific Growth and Employment Project, the ACTU, ACCI and ILO stressed the importance of industry enhancing skills and employment opportunities through social dialogue, and not just leaving all the heavy lifting to governments.
“A decisive factor lifting families from poverty is a household member finding a decent job. Unfortunately, unemployment rates in the Pacific remain high, and access to skills development and vocational training is limited. Unemployment and underemployment of the region’s youth is an entrenched problem which, in many cases, leads to increased poverty, social unrest and community disengagement” said ACTU President, Ged Kearney.
“The private sector is the engine of economic growth and drives poverty reduction by creating jobs. Australian industry with a footprint in the sector not only has a responsibility in the region, but is also very well placed to guide governments and institutions in the preparation of the islands’ youth for work, and the growth of employment opportunities,” said Mr Peter Anderson, ACCI’s Chief Executive.
Australia is the region’s main economic partner, a major security partner and leading aid donor. Australia provides half of all global Official Development Assistance to Papua New Guinea and Pacific countries to overcome poverty and build stability in the region.
Implemented by the ILO through the Australian Government–ILO Partnership Agreement, the project is financed by the Australian Government. It is a social partner project, delivered by the ACCI and the ACTU. The peak organisations have united to provide technical expertise in meeting the project’s objectives.
“The Project’s aim is to grow employment in transport and tourism through engagement and co-operation with industry leaders, governments and industrial bodies,” said Ged Kearney.

“The ILO welcomes the joint efforts of the ACCI and ACTU in initiating and managing this project. It shows yet again the importance of dialogue and what can be achieved through worker-employer cooperation,” said Mr Yoshiteru Uramoto, Regional Director of the ILO’s Regional Office for Asia and the Pacific. “This project also demonstrates how collectively sharing expertise with practitioners in other Asia-Pacific countries can lead to better regional collaboration in general and accelerate the drive to achieve decent work for all.”

For further information:

ACTU Project Officer, Verena Schmidt until Wednesday 8.30 am: 0488 714 155, from Wednesday 4.30 pm in PNG: +675 7241 5281
ACCI Project Officer, Peter Glynn 0411 142 516;
ACTU President, Ged Kearney (Media contact, Eleni Hale, 0418 793 885)
ACCI Chief Executive, Peter Anderson 0417 264 862
Pacific Growth and Employment web site