Unions welcome the announcement of the new Gillard Government Ministry with its emphasis on securing jobs for working Australians, building a stronger, more sustainable economy and delivering good schools, decent healthcare and better services for all Australians, including those in the regions.

ACTU Secretary Jeff Lawrence congratulates Senator Chris Evans on his appointment to the position of Minister for Jobs, Skills and Workplace Relations.

“Senator Evans has had a long association with working people and understands the pressures they face,” he said.

“The renaming of this portfolio shows a welcome focus on jobs and skills as the key drivers of Australia’s economic growth.  The Labor Government has made important investments in this area which have contributed to Australia’s rapid recovery from the economic downturn and protected working families from the GFC.

“We look forward to developing a strong relationship with Senator Evans and working closely with him on issues important to workers, including ensuring the Fair Work Act delivers on collective bargaining and better rights at work.

“We will be seeking to raise with Senator Evans his support for union priorities including the landmark equal pay case in the social and community sector, improvements to the protection of employee entitlements, occupational health and safety and rights for union delegates.”

Mr Lawrence also welcomes the promotion of Bill Shorten to the position of Assistant Treasurer and pledges to work with him in delivering on the Government’s election commitment to raise national superannuation to 12%.

“Mr Shorten’s previous career of close involvement with workers means he is someone who understands the importance of having a secure income in retirement,” Mr Lawrence said.

ACTU President Ged Kearney congratulates Greg Combet on his elevation into the Cabinet as the new Minister for Climate Change.

“Mr Combet has the proven skills from his career in the union movement to handle this sensitive and critical portfolio,” Ms Kearney said.

“We will work with him on the opportunities for new clean energy jobs posed by the transition to a low-carbon economy.

“I am confident that Mr Combet understands the importance of protecting existing jobs and creating new ones during the transition to a low-carbon economy, and unions look forward to working with him to capture the opportunities for new jobs and industries posed by action on climate change.”

Photo by Rochelle Wong