The federal government will be hosting a jobs and skills summit in Canberra in September, to address what it describes as ‘our shared economic challenges’.
Taking place from September 1 to September 2, the government is looking to feature a range of sectors, including unions, employers, civil society and governments.
During a press conference, prime minister Anthony Albanese said the summit would be to help the country creates jobs for the future.
“We also need to have some real discussions about productivity and how we move it forward, whether that be large businesses or small. We know that the way that you boost growth without putting pressure on inflation is to ensure that productivity is the real focus,” the prime minister said.
“That’s a way to boost profits and boost wages whilst boosting the economy.”
A white paper based on what comes out of the summit will be produced by Treasury.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers added the invitation list had yet to be finalised but said the government anticipated 100 attendees.
“Regardless of whether people are invited to the jobs and skills summit or not, we want to tap this appetite that exists right around Australia to come together after a wasted decade of missed opportunities to solve these big economic challenges and to deliver the better future that everyone in Australia wants to see,” Chalmers said.
When questioned whether he would be lifting migration caps to assist with the worker shortage, Albanese said some short-term skills may be filled by ‘temporary migration’.
“One of the things that we can consider, that I’ve spoken about, is how is [it] that for some particular professions that have been short of supply for such a long period of time, we continue to rely on temporary migration rather than more permanent forms?” Albanese asked rhetorically.
Albanese also promoted the potential for Australia to have a leading renewable energy industry, pointing to the country’s solar and wind potential.
With the summit in September and a budget in October, the prime minister added he did not wish to ‘pre-empt’ any of the outcomes of the summit.
Shadow minister for industry, skills, and training Sussan Ley has been critical of the summit, saying with the summit months away it will do nothing to address jobs and skills challenges.
“We already know what we need to build Australia’s workforce, as does the government,” Ley tweeted.
The challenges Australia faces on jobs and skills are well-known.
Labor’s announcement of a summit, not this month, not next month but the month after does nothing to address these challenges.
Let’s save everyone the trip to Canberra and just get on with skilling Australians. pic.twitter.com/vqWuAZutrp
— Sussan Ley (@sussanley) July 11, 2022