Time to take the brakes off

14 July 2022

Record low unemployment makes removing the economic barriers and blockages to businesses activity more critical than ever, Business Council chief executive Jennifer Westacott said.

“We should be proud that more Australians than ever are working, earning, and achieving their full potential.

“But the flip side of record low unemployment is an economy at risk of hitting capacity limits because Australia can’t get the workers it needs.

“Our urgent priority must be to manage chronic workforce shortages across every skill level and sector.

“A lack of workers puts a handbrake on new projects and stifles investment.

“You can’t employ hundreds of Australians on a construction job if you don’t have a surveyor and you can’t tender for a new project without engineers or labourers.

“We need both targeted migration to fill critical shortages at every skill level right now, and a skills system that lets workers easily and quickly train with the skills employers need for the longer term.

“That means keeping safeguards in place but speeding up visa processing. We need to get on with the task of removing the friction that makes it difficult for prospective migrants to get to Australia.

“And we should consider boosting access to 4 year visas to make uprooting families and moving across the globe more attractive.

“Businesses are ready to work with government, unions and the community to manage this immediate crisis and get the settings right for the future at the upcoming Jobs and Skills Summit.”


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