Skills crisis solution needed now – CCIWA, CME

The need for increased migration to fill immediate skills gaps was highlighted at today’s (July 30) WA Skills Summit, attended by a host of industry groups including CCIWA.

The State Government-led summit drew close to 130 representatives from a range of sectors, focused on short and long-term solutions for WA’s growing skills chasm – amplified by COVID-19 and strong economic activity.

CCIWA and the Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) joined forces on the issue, presenting a case for risk-based skilled migration, a more robust quarantine system and increased women’s workforce participation.

A joint CCIWA and CME statement said: “Ultimately, we need to recognise that we won’t adequately resolve critical workforce gaps by simply tapping into our local and interstate population.”

“The business community continues to make very considerable investments in training people in this State,” it stated.

“Even with these investments and important training reforms, there remains a considerable shortfall in skilled people to help build our economy.”

National survey

CCIWA’s recent national survey highlighted that it was difficult for WA to attract workers from interstate, and that it relied on overseas workers to a greater extent than other States.

“It is critical that the outcomes from the Skills Summit include real and tangible options to help remedy the problem, realising there is no easy solution” the joint statement read.

CCIWA and CME called on the State Government to commit to national reopening thresholds against vaccination rates that balanced economic and health considerations.

“Committing to such thresholds will provide a level of certainty to WA businesses over when they will be able to access overseas workers at scale.”

National road map  

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australia would not reach the second phase of its COVID-19 roadmap, where more people are allowed to enter Australia, until 70 per cent of the eligible population is vaccinated.

He said the third phase, where lockdowns end and caps on vaccinated returning travellers are abolished, would not kick in until the vaccination rate reached 80 per cent.

As of today (July 30), 14.5 per cent of the Australian population is fully vaccinated.

Additional measures

Following the Skills Summit, CCIWA and CME outlined some further specific options for businesses to access the workers they need, including:

  1. Creating more capacity within the quarantine system.
  2. Facilitating a clear and simple process to enable businesses to fill critical workforce gaps across all skill levels, which cannot be met locally, from overseas.
  3. A commitment to continue shifting towards more risk-based responses to COVID outbreaks as the majority of vulnerable people have had a chance to be vaccinated.
  4. Making and advocating for policy changes that increase WA women’s workforce participation.

Read our media release here

CCIWA’s COVID-19 page contains up-to-date information for businesses.

For help and guidance on navigating COVID-19 restrictions, contact CCIWA’s Employee Relations Advice Centre on (08) 9365 7660 or [email protected].

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