Oct 20, 2003

Australians missing out on local jobs


MEDIA RELEASE: Anthony Albanese – 20 October 2003

Today’s report in the Daily Telegraph that the Department of Immigration has made it easier for skilled workers such as hairdressers and refrigeration mechanics to migrate to Australia is further evidence that the Howard Government’s approach to training is failing.

Other occupations listed by the Department as experiencing a shortage of skilled domestic workers include: computer professionals, chefs, nurses, midwives and pharmacists.

In its submission to the Senate skills inquiry, the Australian Industry Group reported:

“Over half of the businesses surveyed face skill shortages”.

It is on indictment of the training policies of the Howard Government that Australia needs to import skilled workers at the very time youth unemployment is stuck at over 20%.

While the Government is making it easier for overseas workers to migrate to Australia, they have made it more difficult for young Australians to obtain the skills that would not only improve their long-term career prospects but also address skill shortages in the domestic economy.

Last year 15,000 young Australian missed out on a place at TAFE even though they met the entry requirements.

Furthermore, the Howard Government is not offering a single dollar of growth funding in the Australian National Training Authority Agreement currently being negotiated with the States and Territories.

This failure to adequately fund vocational education and training will increase the numbers of young people missing out on a TAFE place in coming years.

Labor on the other hand is committed to giving the unemployed and young Australians the skills necessary to take up the employment opportunities in industries experiencing skill shortages.

Labor will create an additional 20,000 TAFE places.

This is a clear indication of Labor’s determination to address the acute shortage of skilled workers by ensuring that all young Australians are able to access quality education and training.

Such an investment would safeguard Australia’s future economic prosperity.