The Greens will join Labor and the Nationals in charting the future of employment in Australia at the upcoming jobs and skills summit, making Peter Dutton’s Liberals the only major party to boycott the event
Greens leader Adam Bandt signed on for the two-day summit, set to take place in September, which he will attend with the party’s employment spokeswoman Barbara Pocock, after receiving an invitation from the government.
The summit will bring together about 100 people from unions, businesses, civil society and government.
Mr Bandt said he would use his appearance to urge a repeal of stage three tax cuts and for governments to invest in social services instead.
It is estimated the stage three tax cuts would cost $224 billion over 10 years.
“The Greens welcome the opportunity to attend this important summit and gain community support for our plans to make workers’ lives better,” Mr Bandt said.
“Australia is in a full-blown inequality crisis, with wages and incomes low and the cost of living rising, and the government must intervene to fix it.”
It comes after Opposition Leader Peter Dutton turned down an invitation to attend the summit, calling it a “stunt with the unions”.
However, Nationals leader David Littleproud did accept the invitation, after he said it was critical for regional Australia to be represented at the meeting.
Australian Workers’ Union secretary Dan Walton said the Nationals leader’s appearance at the summit would be interesting.
“I certainly look forward to David Littleproud riding in here on his one-trick pony into the summit to again try and put forward some visas, short-term in nature … as a way of trying to solve long-term, systemic issues in the agriculture industry,” he told Sky News on Sunday.
“This guy doesn’t have much credibility, and once again, he’s banging the same drum of failed policies from the previous government.”
Mr Walton said he welcomed the summit, indicating it was an opportunity to solve some long-term issues facing the country.
The union has previously called for businesses that take in migrant workers to also train an equal number of Australian workers.
“There (are) going to be ideas that are coming to fruition in those two days with the discussion and I think it’s a sensible approach to spend the time to actually formulate those into proper policies and proper legislation,” Mr Walton said.
“There (are) quite a few issues that need to be discussed and the government has a strong appetite to try and fix big problems like the lack of wages growth in this country.”