The Property Council of Australia has welcomed initiatives contained in the 2008-09 ACT Budget that focus on addressing Canberra’s skills shortage.
Property Council ACT Executive Director, Catherine Carter, said:
“The allocation of $51 million to address skills shortages in Canberra, including extra money for the Live in Canberra
campaign and the Skilled and Business Migration Program are very welcome as they address not only the skills dimension, but also should contribute to achieving population increase which is sorely needed in the Territory.
“The renewed focus on providing financial support at key stages in the development of local businesses is also welcome and hopefully reflects the return of a more general Government policy of directly supporting the development of business in Canberra.
“The provision of over $5 million for direct business support is encouraging and should be a permanent fixture in future ACT Budgets.
““While these initiatives are all valuable, they do not appear to be part of an integrated, whole-of-government strategy to address the core challenge facing the Territory, particularly the need for a consistently higher level of population growth year on year.
“There is still a pressing need for an ACT Population Strategy which coordinates the disparate range of measures and integrates them into the framework with a population growth target.
“The Property Council identified the need for such a policy in its Initiatives for Canberra
paper, which suggested an ACT Population Strategy would provide a very valuable planning framework for the ACT Government.
“The Live in Canberra
campaign, for example, could be given a target and sufficient funding and other resources would be provided to reach that target. While the campaign has achieved some success it still operates on far too small a scale to provide any very substantial benefit to the Territory.
“$838,000 has been provided to this program over the next four years. If the program was integrated into a central, whole-of-government strategy, the ACT Government should be better able to target the funds and directly leverage off other opportunities provided by other programs such as the Skilled and Business Migration Program,” Ms Carter said.
For further information contact:
Catherine Carter, Executive Director, 02 6248 6902 or 0412 330 079