The ACT Government should be taking the same radical moves to attract skilled migrants as NSW after Premier Morris Iemma declared he will be taking active steps to try to plug the paralysing skills shortage in Sydney .
The executive director of the Property Council (ACT), Catherine Carter, said Mr Iemma’ s statement that NSW was open for business has set a standard that the ACT should not ignore in its own efforts to deal with the skill crisis that is crippling so many industries and professions.
“ We have an obvious problem of labour shortages that is causing critical problems for professional services firms, in building and development, for hundreds of small traders, and indeed in some parts of government.
“ Some employers tell me they have almost given up trying to find staff. A new approach is needed and NSW has decided to be the first jurisdiction to throw open the doors to skilled migrants.
“ While we support the ACT Government’ s Skilled and Business Migration Program, it is relatively limited in scope, with only 300 to 500 new arrivals to be targeted in the first year, and then up to 1,000 in subsequent years. Clearly more now needs to be done, particularly in an environment where other states and territories are activity competing to attract skilled workers,” Ms Carter said.
NSW will join other Labor states in a scheme to sponsor skilled migrants in a bid to double to current rate of inflow. The NSW State Government is planning recruitment drives in partnership with businesses and universities to encourage skilled migration from other states, the United States , Britain , Canada and China . The program will involve recruitment firms, banks and legal and accounting groups.
“ We need to declare that Canberra is open for business,” Ms Carter said. “ I urge the ACT Government to join their Labor colleagues in NSW in this push to break the deadlock of skills shortages.”
Catherine Carter , Executive Director, 02 6248 6902 or 0412 330 079