The Committee on the Labour Market of the Swedish Parliament visited Australia during the last week of February, 2020.

The delegation consisting of twelve members representing eight political parties of the Swedish Parliament came to Australia to study labour market policy in Australia, with a special focus on the system for employment services.

Ambassador of Sweden to Australia, Henrik Cederin, accompanied the Committee on the Labour Market during their days in Canberra attending meetings and site visits. The program started with a visit to Australian Parliament House and a meeting with the Australian counterpart, the Standing Committee on Employment. One of the highlights of the week was the meeting with Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash (Senator) who spoke about Australia’s 20 years of experience in the current system as well as new online trials currently taking place for employment seekers. The Department of Education, Skills and Employment arranged a well-received roundtable discussion, chaired by Deputy Secretary for Employment Nathan Smyth, to give an overview of the Australian system.

As visits to Australia cannot pass without seeing a kangaroo and as Canberra is labeled the bush-capital it was clear that whilst here we needed to find a kangaroo, something that proved more difficult than normally. Finally on the last day in Canberra we spotted a small mob of about 4 kangaroos behind the train station, just before boarding the train to Sydney.

In Sydney the delegation focused on understanding the system with Employment Services Providers, by non-for profit and for profit providers, 5 providers outlined what services they offer and what job seeking groups they work with. One important aspect was the Swedish input, offering a “Swedish” view of the Australian employment market, the Swedish Trade Commissioner, Martin Ekberg generously provided a spectacular view of Sydney city and more importantly his time where he shared his experience and allowed time for the many questions. The delegation also had the chance to meet some of the Swedish Australian Chamber of Commerce (SACC) corporate members, Kieran Schneeman Astra Zeneca, Mikael Dahlgren Alfa Laval, Kristina Melin Volvo Bus Australia and to participate in a networking event organised by the SACC.

The very ambitious program over 5 days included more than 25 meetings in Canberra and Sydney and saw the delegation well engaged with many aspects of the Australian Labour Market and Employment Services.