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Australia’s engagement with the International Labour Organization

We manage Australia's engagement with the International Labour Organization (ILO).

About the International Labour Organization

The ILO is a specialised agency of the United Nations. Its main aims are to:

  • promote rights at work
  • encourage decent employment opportunities
  • enhance social protection
  • strengthen social dialogue on work-related issues.

The ILO operates on a tripartite basis, bringing together governments, employers and workers of 187 members states to set labour standards, develop policies and devise programmes promoting decent work for all.

In Australia's case, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry represents employers and the Australian Council of Trade Unions represents workers.

Australia is a titular (voting) member of the ILO Governing Body (2021–2024), which is the ILO's key decision-making body.

Our objectives and responsibilities

Our main objective in engaging with the ILO is to advance, protect and promote Australia's broader national interests. We do this by ensuring Australia's views are reflected in the ILO's deliberations and outcomes.

We are responsible for:

  • Providing advice to government on a range of international labour issues.
  • Representing Australia at key international labour meetings, including the annual ILO International Labour Conference and the Governing Body.
  • Contributing to Australia's engagement with ILO development assistance activities in the Indo-Pacific region.
  • Meeting with the International Labour Affairs Committee. This is where the government, the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, and the Australian Council of Trade Unions discuss international labour issues.
  • Managing the Australian Government's treaty reporting requirements to meet its obligations under the ILO Constitution.
  • Considering ratification of identified ILO treaties as and when the government requires.

The International Labour Conference

The Australian Government also engages with the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Australian Council of Trade Unions on international labour issues through participation in the International Labour Conference. It operates as a global platform to examine labour and social issues.

Around 5,000 delegates attend the International Labour Conference. They represent, governments, employers' and workers' organisations from the ILO's 187 member states. Its chief tasks are to adopt and supervise conventions and recommendations.

ILO Director-General election

The Australian Government has nominated Mr Greg Vines as candidate for Director-General of the ILO for 2022–2027.

Australia's candidate

Mr Vines is currently ILO Deputy Director-General for Management and Reform and has more than a decade of experience in senior roles within the Organization. He is a well-respected and highly-skilled leader and consensus builder, with decades of experience working with governments, employers and workers.

His leadership at the ILO has established strong foundations from which he is uniquely positioned to lead the ILO in building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future of work for all.

ILO Director-General election

Nominations for the Director-General elections opened on 1 July 2021 and close on 1 October 2021.

The election will be held in Geneva on 25 March 2022. The elected Director-General will commence in the role on 1 October 2022.

To learn more, visit the website Australia's Candidate for Director-General of the International Labour Organization.

Australia's representative to the ILO

Australia's representative to the ILO is Ms Alison Durbin. She commenced in July 2021.