Australia’s key union body is calling for an overhaul of training and migration systems ahead of the Albanese government’s jobs and skills summit in September.
The Australian Council of Trade Unions wants to see workers offered improved wages and conditions before resorting to migration to plug labour gaps.
It supports boosting migration if these conditions are met, but also wants better treatment of migrants working in Australia.
This includes abolishing visa conditions that tie workers to a sole employer, and stopping employers from hiring migrants if they have a history of underpaying or mistreating workers.
“Our migration and skills systems are broken,” ACTU president Michele O’Neil said.
“This has resulted in the mass exploitation of temporary migrant workers and the neglect and decay of our skills training system.”
The union is also calling for more funding for vocational training, as well as commonwealth subsidies for apprentice wages.
The head of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Andrew McKellar is due to address the National Press Club about Australia’s workforce shortage crisis.
Mr McKellar will outline the employer group’s three-pronged approach to solving labour shortages: better training, increasing workforce participation and boosted migration.
“A great place to start is raising the target for the permanent skilled migration intake up to 200,000, at least for the next two years, to address the staffing crisis we’re seeing across the economy,” he will say in his speech.