International Engagement


The Department of Employment engages with relevant international forums such as the OECD, ILO, G20 and APEC to promote Australia’s national interests and help develop evidence-based domestic policies that support the creation of a strong and diversified Australian economy. 

Upcoming events

The Department of Employment will be hosting in 2017 the following events:


The Department of Employment’s engagement with the OECD provides the means to influence and evaluate international employment and labour market policies and programs. Maintaining a permanent presence at the OECD creates opportunities to grow awareness and collaboration on domestic and regional interests and policy objectives, and exchange best practices, ideas and research to inform our domestic evidence base.

Australia’s productivity and participation agenda has been influenced by the Department’s engagement with the OECD. Over the past 15 years or so, the OECD has provided an intellectual framework for Australia’s employment and activation policies. Australia was an early adopter of the OECD approach, with our Public Employment Services based on the OECD’s Jobs Strategy and held in high regard internationally. Australia is closely involved in the work of the OECD promoting structural reform to support long-term growth and wealth creation.


The principal objective of Australia’s engagement with the International Labour Organization (ILO) is to advance, protect and promote Australia’s broader national interests, by ensuring Australia’s views are reflected in the ILO’s deliberations and outcomes. The Australian representative to the ILO is the Minister-Counsellor (Employment) who represents Australia’s interests at the International Labour Conference and other international meetings.

Visit the International Labour Issues page for more information.

OECD Minister Counsellor (Employment) and Australia’s representative to the International Labour Organization

Australia maintains a Permanent Delegation to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) in Paris, led by the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Australia to the OECD, Mr Brian Pontifex. The Minister-Counsellor (Employment) is part of this Delegation and represents the Department of Employment in all OECD activities relating to employment, skills, labour, migration, youth and workplace relations. The Minister-Counsellor is also Australia’s representative to the International Labour Office (ILO).

The current Minister-Counsellor (Employment), Ms Margaret Kidd, was appointed to the position in July 2016. Previous Minister-Counsellors include Ms Janie Pitt (2013-2016), Ms Margaret Pearce (2010-2013) and Ms Oon Ying Chin (2007-2010).


The Group of Twenty (G20) is the leading forum for international economic cooperation and employment is a central part of the G20's agenda. The Department represents Australia in a G20 Employment Working Group with counterparts from the world's largest economies and international organisations, developing advice for G20 Labour and Employment Ministers as well as G20 Leaders on a wide range of issues.

Find out more about the G20 Employment Working Group


Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) is a regional economic forum established in 1989 to leverage the growing interdependence of the Asia-Pacific. APEC's 21 members aim to create greater prosperity for the people of the region by promoting balanced, inclusive, sustainable, innovative and secure growth and by accelerating regional economic integration. The Department represents Australia mainly in the APEC Human Resources Development Working Group along with the Department of Education and Training. Throughout the year, APEC members participate in a wide variety of projects concerning employment, labour and social protection issues.


Australia was a founding member of the United Nations in 1945 and has been active in the organisation ever since. We work closely with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, as well as other key agencies, to ensure Australia meets its international obligations inherent in membership of the United Nations. Visit the UN page for further information.

Other Bilateral and Multilateral Forums

The Department of Employment exchanges ideas and learnings with other economies and social partners through formal channels with like-minded countries as well as informal channels such as consulting government counterparts, business groups, think tanks, peak bodies, research institutions and academia.

The Department of Employment also contributes an Australian perspective on employment issues to the United Nations, the Windsor Group of Nations, Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), social partners and other economies through forums, treaties and conventions in order to influence, exchange ideas and promote our national interests.