CCIWA calls for reforms to solve jobs, skills dilemma

CCIWA has called for reforms to enterprise bargaining, greenfields agreements and migration settings among a suite of recommendations ahead of the Federal Government’s Jobs and Skills Summit next month.

The Summit, held at Parliament House in Canberra on September 1-2, will bring together various groups including unions, employers, civil society and governments “to address our shared economic challenges”.

The Summit will cover five broad themes:

  • Maintaining full employment and growing productivity.
  • Boosting job security and wages.
  • Lifting participation and reducing barriers to employment.
  • Delivering a high-quality labour force through skills, training and migration.
  • Maximising opportunities in the industries of the future.

READ: Jobs, skills, migration among ‘big challenges’ for Govt summit

CCIWA has provided recommendations under the following:

Employment and productivity

  • Reform the enterprise bargaining system. A particular focus must be on fixing the Fair Work Commission’s technical and complex agreement-making process.
  • Greenfields reform is another critical priority for WA’s economy — being unable to establish terms and conditions of employment for the life of a major project imposes risk and disincentives for businesses to invest.

Skills and training

  • There must be an industry voice at all levels of workforce planning and Vocational Education and Training.
  • The process for developing VET training packages must be improved and VET markets must be adequately funded.

Migration

  • Invest substantially more resources in all aspects of visa processing for the next two years, and address issues with red tape in the system.
  • Increase the permanent migration cap for the next two years to 200,000 skilled workers.
  • Abolish skills lists — employers should be allowed to sponsor migrants in all skilled occupations, not just those on a list.
  • Ensure State-based migration programs capture the largest number of occupations possible.
  • Along with migration system reforms, promotion campaigns by Government that build Australia’s profile on jobs, liveability, and education are needed to attract workers and international students to Australia.

Boosting workforce participation

  • Introduce a Training to Work approach where disadvantaged job seekers (e.g. young people, the long-term unemployed) can undertake work experience concurrent to vocational training within an industry framework, in order to overcome risk for employers and provide a pathway to employment as a trainee or otherwise.
  • Make it easier for employers to learn about and access the employment services that aim to assist people living with disability to find work.
  • Enable aged pensioners to work at least two to three days per week on average without impacting their pensions or their access to superannuation, to bring more of these experienced workers back into the labour force.
  • Ask the Productivity Commission to conduct a comprehensive review of the early learning and care sector, to build the case for increased support for families, where the benefits outweigh the
  • Amend the Fringe Benefits Tax Act 1986 (Cth) to exempt all types of early childhood education and care from Fringe Benefits Tax, so that more businesses are able to offer this to their employees as a fringe benefit.
  • Enable fairer sharing of unpaid caring duties by allowing for greater flexibility in the management of paid parental leave entitlements; and amend the Fair Work Act to provide employees and employers with greater flexibility to agree to alternative working arrangements.

The themes and outcomes of the Summit will inform the Employment White Paper, which will help to shape the future of Australia’s labour market. It will be led by Treasury, which will invite submissions and engage the wider community over the next 12 months.

For more information, visit Jobs and Skills Summit.

To be part of WA’s peak business organisation, get in touch via 1300 422 492 or membership@cciwa.com

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