The State Government’s announcement today (August 5) of a suite of measures to address skills and labour shortages is positive for WA businesses but “one of many steps” needed to reset the dial on the issue, says CCIWA CEO Chris Rodwell.
Premier Mark McGowan detailed several initiatives to attract and retain skilled workers in WA, while the government works to convert concepts from last week’s Skills Summit.
The announcement included:
- Bringing forward the next 100 places in the Jobs and Skills WA Adult Apprentice Employer Incentive – worth up to $26,800 to employers – after it reached its 100-place cap in just over two weeks;
- Requesting an additional 5000 onshore places from the Commonwealth Government under the State Nominated Migration Program;
- A targeted advertising campaign to attract interstate and New Zealand workers and increase participation of under-represented groups in WA;
- A new partnership with the Wirrpanda Foundation targeting Aboriginal jobseekers aged 15-24; and
- A series of Regional Skills Summits across WA in the next five months.
“The Skills Summit was a valuable opportunity for government and industry to work together to address immediate workforce challenges to support our thriving economy – while enhancing our ongoing commitment to local training and local jobs,” McGowan said.
Rodwell said: “Today’s announcement is one of many steps that will be needed to shift the dial on this issue.”
“The CCIWA-CoreData National Survey released last month showed it will be difficult to fill critical gaps in WA’s workforce with East Coast workers,” he said. “The Eastern States have acute shortages of their own, with vacancies reported by businesses in New South Wales (63%), Queensland (57%) and Victoria (56%). Only 28% of WA businesses expect to be able to fill their vacancies from Australian workers.”
He added: “To the extent that workers can be attracted from over east, the survey shows that focusing on cost of living factors should form a central part of any campaign.”
At last week’s Skills Summit, industry highlighted the need for increased migration to fill immediate skills gaps.
CCIWA and the Chamber of Minerals and Energy presented a case for risk-based skilled migration, a more robust quarantine system and increased women’s workforce participation.
“Ultimately, we need to recognise that we won’t adequately resolve critical workforce gaps by simply tapping into our local and interstate population,” a joint statement said.