Anthony Albanese says jobs summit is already a success

Prime Minister Anthony Albanese has dismissed suggestions that his upcoming jobs and skills summit will be a fizzle amid calls to increase immigration to Australia.

Next week, employers will meet with government and unions to discuss solutions to stagnating wages, job security and skills shortages.

Common ground has already been found in lifting permanent immigration to Australia.

It is likely that the program will grow from 160,000 people per year to 200,000.

Camera iconAnthony Albanese visited Cerrone Jewelers in Sydney to talk about his skills. Gaye Gerard / NCA Newswire Credit: News Corp Australia

But the Prime Minister acknowledged that the current visa process was a drag on addressing skills shortages.

“I know that all state and territory governments are concerned about skills shortages; they are a handbrake for business activity,” Mr. Albanese said.

Earlier, NSW Treasurer Matt Kean made a desperate plea to the Federal Government to speed up visas for overseas workers amid chronic staff shortages.

Writing in The Australian, he said he wanted a new visa category targeting low-skilled occupations.

An instruction to unclog the visa approval process has been given to Home Secretary Clare O’Neil.

“You’re not going to have a peak on Thursday and Friday and wake up on Saturday and there’s no skills shortage; that’s not going to happen,” Mr Albanese told reporters in Sydney.

Camera iconMr. Albanese says the summit is already a success. Gaye Gerard / NCA Newswire Credit: News Corp Australia

But migration is only one piece of the puzzle and the government is keen to stress that discussions on how to invest in Australia’s workforce will be key.

The Prime Minister’s jobs summit follows in the footsteps of the Hawke government’s economic summit in 1983 and Kevin Rudd’s Australia 2020 summit held in 2008.

Mr Rudd’s summit brought together 1,000 of the “best and brightest” to craft solutions to challenges in jobs, the environment, the arts and health.

But suggestions that the summit could be reduced to a talkfest, as some claimed the Rudd summit was, were quickly rebuffed by Mr Albanese.

Camera iconMr. Albanese said the Cerrone Jewelers business was a success. Gaye Gerard / NCA Newswire Credit: News Corp Australia

“Rudd Summit 2020 was the first time anyone heard of the National Disability Insurance Scheme; quite a significant reform that came out of that process,” Mr. Albanese replied.

“Already, I consider (the summit) a success.

“The fact that you’re all here and we’re talking about jobs and skills is part of the process of what we’re doing here – making sure people understand that there are significant skills shortages.”


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