Moves to up-skill regional AustraliaDOWNLOAD
Wednesday, 11 May 2011: As part of this year’s Federal Budget, the Government has announced the introduction of Regional Migration Agreements (RMAs) designed to identify and address the skill shortages currently facing many parts of regional Australia.
Deloitte partner, Andy Peck, says these agreements will see employers, local and state governments and unions collaborating on workforce strategies that support the growth of skills and employment in their local area.
“The RMAs will see a range of stakeholders provide input into developing strategies specific to their region by identifying where the shortages exist in terms of skills, industry and jobs. Local authorities will then negotiate with the Government and local employers will be able to directly sponsor workers under the agreed RMA.”
“While the agreements are primarily concerned with attracting foreign labour to work in regional locations experiencing skill shortages, the collaborative framework is intended to address local labour market requirements from within the Australian workforce,” Mr Peck said. “And those employers seeking to employ foreign workers under the scheme will have to demonstrate a commitment to training local workers to address future needs.”
“If properly executed, this initiative will help address the current problems with encouraging and sustaining participation in the regional workforce,” Mr Peck said. “However, this issue requires a complex and sophisticated response to the numerous challenges confronting regional employers who are struggling to source and retain appropriately skilled workers.”
“Government needs to understand that, for many workers, the decision to migrate to the regions comes down to a variety of factors beyond the employment opportunity itself. Lifestyle factors like proximity to services, quality of schools, homes and community activities, and the availability of public transport also play a substantial role in attracting workers to a region and keeping them there.”
“Local authorities and employers need to consider these broader issues in developing RMAs and understand that they aren’t a quick fix solution to the problem of workforce sourcing. A long term solution requires a considered approach to addressing the factors that not only attract workers to a region, but also those which keep them there.”
Deloitte’s Federal Budget 2011-12 website
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