Enter your email to read this article
Read news on any topic, in one place, from publishers like The Economist, FT, Bloomberg and more.

Local workers first, migrants second: ACTU

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.

Related Stories
Wages, migration on jobs summit agenda
Flatlining wages, migration levels and the need to boost workforce participation for people living with disabilities will dominate the Jobs and Skills Summit.
From analysis to the latest developments in health, read the most diverse news in one place.
Unions and employers agree 40,000 more migrants a year needed to fill Australia’s skills shortage
Consensus on migration and increasing subsidies for apprentices could pave way for policy reform at government’s jobs and skills summit
Australia’s wages rise 2.6% in year to June but continue to lag inflation
Increase falls short of expectations as unions call for more support to address the ‘serious failure of our wages system’
Aged care sector welcomes Pacific workers but needs 35,000 more each year to address shortages
Australia is pinning its hopes on Pacific workers to help fill shortages across the economy — particularly in aged care — but industry says a history of poor conditions and sheer numbers mean that's unlikely to make a significant dent in demand.
Calls for skilled migration overhaul
Australia needs to ditch its “ad hoc” skilled migration system in order to drive the country’s prosperity, the Business Council says ahead of the jobs summit.
One place to find news on any topic, from hundreds of sites.
Australian women key focus at jobs summit
The federal government has released an issues paper in preparation for the jobs and skills summit, outlining five key economic challenges to be addressed.