17 September 2007

Australian skills shortage 'the number one issue for business'

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The skills shortage is the "number one issue for business", Australian Industry Group chief executive Heather Ridout said today. "This issue is not going to go away for Australia, it's going to be here for a number of years," she said. People considering Australian immigration can take advantage of the tight labour market to build a new life with an Australian visa.

Ms Ridout's comments were in response to the announcement by Australia's opposition leader that his party will set up an independent body to address the skills shortage if they are elected later this year. Kevin Rudd said the body would advise the government on the future skills needs of the nation. It would be led by seven board members, including economists, business leaders, academics and training providers.

The Australian Industry Group gave a cautious welcome to Mr Rudd's announcement. "We're cautious because we don't know a lot about it but instinctively my view is that it could be very useful," Ms Ridout said. "I think it is important we do have a well-resourced body that's got confidence in industry, got some broad expertise on it and I understand that's another thing they're going to suggest."

A Business Council of Australia spokesman was supportive of proposal. "We think this is a positive in addressing a major issue for business," he said.

Australia needs skilled workers: Anyone applying for an Australian visa should begin by completing the Australian Visa Bureau's online Australian visa application to see if they meet the Australian visa requirements.

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