Migration, training focus on final day of jobs summit

The role of migration and training in addressing the skills and labour shortage crisis will be a key discussion point at the jobs summit.

Sep 02, 2022, updated Sep 02, 2022
Photo: AAP/Lukas Coch

Photo: AAP/Lukas Coch

Over 140 representatives will gather for the second and final day of the summit at Parliament House in Canberra on Friday.

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese will wrap up proceedings on Friday afternoon after using the first day to announce an additional 180,000 fee-free TAFE places by 2023 as part of a major training package.

Albanese also flagged further announcements for Friday.

“There’s a range of measures that we’re seeing come to agreement,” he said.

“I’m very confident that (Friday), we’ll have positive announcements, not just in skills and training, but in migration.”

Mr Albanese said the main takeaway of the summit needs to be jobs security.

“More people are in insecure work than ever before. People are working two jobs just to get by, wages aren’t keeping up with the cost of living,” he told a post-summit dinner.

“People don’t have the security you need from a permanent job or secure income in order to pay a mortgage or reliably plan a family.

“I want people to have security.”

One of the achievements of the talks in the lead-up to the summit, and the meeting itself, has been getting a consensus around reducing reliance on temporary migration, the prime minister said.

“There are people here who’ve been on temporary visas for year after year after year and it keeps getting extended without giving them the certainty that enables them to buy a house and send their kids to school and to have that security,” he said.

“We need to do better.”

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The sentiment was echoed by economist Ross Garnaut, who says skilled immigration is more likely to boost real wages.

“It’s much more likely to raise rather than lower average real wages the more it’s focused on the permanent migration of people with genuinely scarce and valuable skills that are bottlenecks to valuable Australian production, and which cannot be provided by training Australians,” Garnaut said.

Treasurer Jim Chalmers ruled out bringing forward the government’s signature childcare policy from mid-2023 to get women into the workforce sooner, after gender equality in the workforce was spotlighted on the first day.

“We wanted to make sure that one of the big focuses of this job summit was the untapped economic potential of Australian women who would work more and earn more if we made it easier for them to do that,” he said.

“We would like to be able to fund some of these ideas earlier than we are but the reality is we can’t afford to … and so instead, it will begin in July as we originally intended.”

Nationals Leader David Littleproud wants the government to be better at hearing the voices of rural and regional women, saying the summit had become more about union grandstanding.

“One of the most disappointing things I saw was the session on women and the disrespect this government showed to 30 per cent of the women in this country,” Littleproud said.

“There was not one woman from regional Australia on that panel, and the challenges that regional women face in terms of childcare and getting into the workforce are different to metropolitan areas.

“I respect the fact they had someone that had engaged with Indigenous communities, but 30 per cent of women live in regional Australia and their voice wasn’t heard.”


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