Speech by The Hon Jane Prentice MP

SkillsLink2 Work Launch


I will start by adding my acknowledgment of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, the traditional custodians of the land on which we meet and pay my respects to their Elders past and present.

I also acknowledge my good friend and colleague the Hon John Ajaka, NSW Minister for Ageing, Minister for Disability Services, and Minister for Multiculturalism.

As Assistant Minister for Disability Services, it is a pleasure to join you here today.

Carers play a vital role in our communities.

There are almost 2.7 million carers in Australia, looking after people with disability, medical conditions and mental illness or who are frail and aged.

Of these carers, more than 770,000 are primary carers, devoting many hours to their caring role.

Their responsibilities mean they may find it difficult to maintain employment or education, and this can lead to social isolation.

The Commonwealth Government is committed to helping these people get back into the workforce, if and when they wish to do so.

We know that many carers need practical advice and strategies to support them to either maintain employment when they begin their caring role, or when they want to return to work at a later date.

This includes supporting them to access training and education.

The Commonwealth Government has contributed $108,000 to help make this support an everyday reality.  I am pleased to join with Minister Ajaka to launch the ‘SkillsLink2Work’ website.

SkillsLink2Work is a free online toolkit that will help carers match their skills to employment opportunities.

The website will help carers understand how the skills, knowledge and experience they have built up as carers can be used to gain employment.

It allows carers to map their experience and knowledge against the 10 core skills that are nationally recognised as relevant to everyone undertaking work.

This means carers can be recognised for a wide range of jobs or study.

Skills, knowledge and experience can be translated into a personalised report which can be used for job applications and interviews, or skills recognition when beginning study.

This builds confidence and makes sure that their important skills and experiences are recognised and valued outside of their caring roles.

I understand that many carers have contributed to the development of the website.  Some are here today and I thank you for those contributions.

We would not have this wonderful service without your time, input and feedback; your participation in focus groups and, of course the user-testing of the site.

I encourage everyone, whether you are a carer or not, to have a closer look at this excellent resource.

The Commonwealth Government has worked closely with the New South Wales Department of Family and Community Services on this innovative project.

Our relationship is positive and constructive.

We believe that by working together we can strongly support carers to combine caring and paid work while receiving justified recognition of their knowledge and skills.

This means that the SkillsLink2Work website is just the first of many wonderful initiatives to support carers.

Under Minister Ajaka’s Carers Strategy we are also working together on the development and establishment of the Carers and Employers Network. 

This project will bring together a voluntary network of employers from across NSW who champion the case for employing and retaining carers.

It will also promote strategies to break down the barriers for carers entering the workforce.

The Commonwealth Government was pleased to provide $100,000 for stage one of this project.

This joint partnership between the Commonwealth and the NSW Governments builds on the good work being done since our budget commitment last year to develop an Integrated Plan for Carer Support Services.

The first step is the National Carer Gateway, launched in December last year with a commitment of $33.7 million, over the next four years.

The Carer Gateway guides carers to the support and resources they need through a website, telephone service and interactive service finder.

These activities are part of our overall commitment to supporting unpaid carers and establishing practical actions to recognise, support and sustain their vital work.

We are all very grateful for the enormous amount of work done by carers throughout this country.

Minister Ajaka and I look forward to working with you further; supporting your work and helping you to fulfill your goals and ambitions.