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International conference examines policy challenges to social cohesion

16 Jul 2013

Leading researchers from around the world will convene in Sydney for the Fifth International Community, Work and Family Conference on 17 to 19 July. The conference will look at the impact of rapid industrial, social and technological change on communities, workplaces and families.

Held for the first time outside Europe, the conference is jointly convened by the University of Sydney, the University of South Australia and the Australian Institute of Family Studies, and brings together some of the world's best researchers who study work and family issues. Experts coming from countries including India, China, Australia, Europe and North America are expected to attend.

Conference convenors Professor Marian Baird (Women and Work Research Group University of Sydney), Professor Barbara Pocock (Centre for Work + Life, UniSA) and Dr Michael Alexander (Australian Institute of Family Studies) believe the conference will uncover some core issues for the policy agenda.

"We know the rate of change in society is increasing exponentially, driven to some extent by technology but also by demographic shifts and globalisation," Professor Baird says. "We can see emerging touch-points where those changes are stretching the fabric of society thin as people struggle to combine care with demanding and often precarious jobs."

Professor Pocock says there are particular issues affecting older people, and a pressing need to ensure that labour regulation keeps up with the changing nature of work and workers.

"We need to look at how we support and enhance people's capacity to combine work and care while creating healthy communities and healthy workers," Professor Pocock says.

Dr Alexander says the conference represents an important think tank on the issues. "What we'll have at this conference is a mix of experienced researchers and practitioners presenting the latest research, defining the problems and putting forward solutions and suggestions for change in a range of crucial policy areas including work and family, regional development, human resource management, workplace relations, industrial law, women and women's safety, employment and youth," Dr Alexander says.

The conference will be opened by the Minister for Families, Community Services, Indigenous Affairs and Disability Reform, Jenny Macklin.

The venue is Sydney University Law School, New Law Building Eastern Avenue, Camperdown Campus at The University of Sydney, NSW

Keynote Speakers:
- Professor Raewyn Connell, University Chair, University of Sydney
- Professor Cindy Fan, Vice Provost for International Studies, UCLA
- Ms Jane Hodges, Director, Bureau for Gender Equality, International Labour Office
- Professor Rajni Palriwala, Department of Sociology, University of Delhi
- Jason Glanville, CEO, National Centre of Indigenous Excellence

For the full conference program, please visit this link