Skilled migration is not the whole story, treasurer warns


Treasurer Jim Chalmers has warned businesses that a temporary boost to skilled migration will not solve the long-term challenges facing Australia’s economy as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chalmers agrees that skilled labor shortages are a drag on the economy and says the government has been looking to balance immediate solutions with long-term sustainable changes since its jobs summit in September and the white paper resulting.

But he cautioned businesses against thinking migration is the solution to all of Australia’s economic challenges.

“It’s part of the story, but it’s not the whole story. And it shouldn’t be a substitute for training Australians for roles; it should not replace child care reform,” the treasurer told ABC RN Breakfast.

“As we come out of this period of COVID, where the migration tap has basically been turned off, you know, this should be an opportunity to think about the best migration mix as the program ramps up again.

“It’s something we’re talking about with business, with unions and others, community groups as well, because we have an opportunity to get it right, to get the migration parameters right.”

Chalmers said corporate bargaining had failed to deliver sustainable wage growth and signaled it would be reviewed as part of the Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra on September 1-2 .

“We’ve had nearly a decade of flat wages and part of the story is how employers and employees come together and their common interest in trying to get decent pay results,” he said. declared.

He pointed to the ability of employers to unilaterally tear up company agreements without consultation as a problem.

“That’s one of the reasons I think we need to look at bargaining and one of the reasons we haven’t had the wage growth that we would have liked to see.”

Asked if the summit could result in legislation before the end of the year to address some of these issues, Chalmers was reluctant to specify a timeline.

“If we can get a sense of consensus, not unanimity, but consensus on some of these types of issues, if there’s an opportunity to move quickly, and that’s appropriate, then we will,” did he declare.

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