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ACT Government conspires against community on “Skills Shortage”

By johnboy 7 May 2005 7

ABC Online has a peculiar story in which the Minister not responsible, Katy Gallagher, outlines her plans to address the “skills shortage” and calls for the federales to give her a hand.

The Skills Shortage issue us an illuminating one. In that the masters of the Labor Party (unions) view it as a crisis because people are now able to negotiate from a position of power for themselves. Meanwhile the masters of the Liberal Party (big business and employer groups) are also alarmed that they have to offer better terms or conditions if they want to get the sort of people they desire.

The end result is that the full spectrum of the polictical class is aligned against the interests of the general populous on this one.

Frankly if employers can’t find qualified people willing to work, for the pay and conditons they are offering, then they should pay for the training themselves. I don’t see why we taxpayers should be paying for the privilege of undercutting our own negotiating positions.

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7 Responses to
ACT Government conspires against community on “Skills Shortage”
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johnboy 10:36 pm 09 May 05

sure, i think we’re agreeing?

Valleyboy 10:15 pm 09 May 05

Johnboy, my employer (Commonwealth Government IT shop) is still excellent with “growing its own” and offering training. In fact, I sometimes actually decline offers to go on some courses when I feel that it’s unlikely that I’m going to make practical use of it within the next 6-12 months.

But, at least traditionally, the Public Service recognised that it needed to offer something different and superior (eg, job security, superannuation, training, flextime, etc.) to encourage people to uproot their lives and come to Canberra. Private industry apparently still hasn’t learnt.

As I wrote in a (published) letter to the CT at the time, when the Howard government was ripping the guts out of the Public Service in Canberra, and (then) federal Nationals leader Tim Fischer made the inane remark that those job cuts “created space” for the private sector in Canberra, all that meant was that there was suddenly a pool of newly-unemployed public servants here who the private sector probably couldn’t have attracted to Canberra on its own merits.

Ralph 8:56 am 09 May 05

An economic downturn will see no more skills shortage – across the whole country. Mind you as a big chunk of the working age population is or will be soon retiring, the shortage will only come back.

Combine Johhnie’s IR reforms and the importation of cheap slaves from Asia (who will work for peanuts), and we’ll soon be having a race to the bottom in terms of pay and conditions. Two dollar an hour? Yeeess Master!

em 8:50 am 09 May 05

ABC says they want to spend $14m on fixing the problem, but it doesn’t really say how. Went looking for a media release but couldn’t find one. Would be interesting to know the details.

johnboy 10:48 pm 08 May 05

Valleyboy, I agree completely.

But in the past the public service has offered attractive conditions in lieu of pay and then “grown their own” in terms of skills.

Our captains of industry want to offer the same pay, but on industry terms, and hope to get trained people without paying for the training.

Basically they want something for nothing and are hoping to con dimwitted politicians into paying for the shortfall.

Valleyboy 10:11 pm 08 May 05

A lot of people migrate from the southern States to the south-east corner of Queensland. They move there because they’d like to live there — and then they look for a job there to support that objective.

Most of the people that I work with (in a Commonwealth Government IT shop) come from interstate. They moved to Canberra for the job — generally despite the fact that the job was in Canberra, not because of it. And those from the larger cities generally harbour the quiet ambition of eventually returning “home”.

Local business is going to have to face the fact that Canberra is not a terribly popular place to attract labour to (if they don’t believe it, they need only look to the example of their very own pin-up boy, John Howard) — so maybe they will have to be prepared to offer a bit more to attract the right people to town.

KC 2:21 am 08 May 05

Interesting, given that Ms Gallagher is refusing to even consider the technical colleges proposal as an option for the ACT. It’s not just about getting grants from the feds – the Government should be looking at ways to improve skills for the future.

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