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Minister puts focus on sustainable workforce

Emily AceSouth Western Times
Federal Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, toured Bunbury with Forrest MHR Nola Marino on Thursday to speak with local business owners.
Camera IconFederal Minister for Jobs and Industrial Relations and Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, toured Bunbury with Forrest MHR Nola Marino on Thursday to speak with local business owners. Credit: Jon Gellweiler

Bunbury business owners had the opportunity to speak with Federal Minister for Jobs, Industrial Relations and Women, Kelly O’Dwyer, on Thursday when she visited to gain an insight into the issues they are facing with skills and job opportunities.

“We have been out having a chat with a number of people about what we can do to make sure we have the skilled workforce that is needed and a sustainable skilled workforce to be able to provide the job opportunities we know are here, but have the appropriate training in place to make that a reality,” Ms O’Dwyer said.

Ms O’Dwyer said women had a record number of full-time jobs and praised Forrest MHR Nola Marino for her consistent advocacy for rural and regional women.

“Nola has been such a strong advocate for making sure that a rural woman gets the same opportunities available to women in the cities, that there is the same ability for them to be able to get a job, keep a job and get the training they need,” Ms O’Dwyer said.

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“But to also respect that there are different decisions people make throughout their lives and we need to have not a one size fits all approach but a degree of flexibility around that.”

Focus would also be placed on young women in the regions who were expected to forge their own career paths.

“We have put in place a $3.6 million future female entrepreneurs program which is going to have a strong focus on rural and regional Australia, because we know there is a huge entrepreneurial activity out here and it is a matter of tapping it and harnessing it,” she said.

Dressed in white in recognition of White Ribbon Day, Ms O’Dwyer said domestic violence was one of the “great barriers” stopping women from achieving financial security.

She said the Women’s Economic Security Statement announced last week would give women critical support to leave violent relationships and begin re-building financial security.

“We must work together to ensure women can live safely and that there are no barriers to them achieving their full potential,” she said.

“We have to call out bad behaviour and we have to call out criminal behaviour where we see it.

“No one is above that, whether we see sexual harassment or violence at home, in the workplace, online or in our community – we have zero tolerance for that violence towards women.

“More than ever it is important for us to get the message out that men and women have a responsibility together to address this issue.”

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