Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Government Not Learning from Past Excess and Waste

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Government Not Learning from Past Excess and Waste

Article excerpt

THERE were 604,800 people , looking for work but unable to find it in Australia last month.

Add to that number the 817,100 part-time workers who would prefer more hours Co they're the ones counted as employed even if they are doing as little as one hour's work a week Co and it would seem there is a sizeable labour pool looking for something to do.

The number of unemployed or under-employed totals 1.422 million of a potential labour force of 12 million people. Yet for some reason the National Resources Sector Employment Taskforce predicts the country is heading for a 36,000 shortfall of trades people by 2015.

Given that a properly-trained tradesperson takes four years to develop there would seem to be a ready solution to hand.

The government has responded to the challenge of finding an additional 70,000 skilled workers needed for major resource projects during the next five years by adopting a series of initiatives which admirably include some money for adult apprenticeship training, tapping rural community labour pools with emphasis on unemployed indigenous Australians and the encouragement of more women into the workforce.

Not so admirable are plans for accelerated competency-based training backed by industry supervision and mentoring, on-site mobile training centres at mining sites and the planned increase in 457 visas.

It is a failing of government that it was not until 2009 that the escalating resources boom and its need for labour were recognised.

What were all these wise heads doing? They can't all have been driving aimlessly around in taxis?

Identified earlier, real plans for the full and proper training of Australia's under and unemployment pools would have addressed need without compromising standards and ensured our local workforce benefited from the resource boom.

That didn't happen, I suspect, because lack of planning foresight has in the past been all too easily accommodated by greater immigration.

There are very real and legitimate concerns about the pace and scale of growth in this country. It's a simple argument: One planet, finite resources, infinite population, real trouble ahead. …

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