Anthony Albanese has addressed the issues of migration and visa backlog related to skills shortages, saying Australia needs to create better roads for workers to have a permanent presence in the country.
The Labor government had inherited a “huge” visa backlog, the prime minister told reporters on Monday.
“It’s absurd in a time of skills shortages, there are people who have waited so long,” he said.
“We have some skills gaps in the short term that always need to be filled through temporary migration.”
Mr Albanese said that temporary migration would continue to play a role, but also pointed to the possibility of more long-term or permanent options.
“One of the things we can consider, which I’ve talked about is – how come for some specific professions, which have been in short supply for such a long time, we continue to rely on temporary migration rather than more permanent forms? “
He said allowing more permanent shapes would make a “significant difference”.
“We have a global job market, we have to recognize that,” he said.
“And we need to make sure we also have better roads to a permanent presence in Australia so people can give us the skills they need.”
The comments came during a press conference announcing that a jobs and skills summit will be held in Parliament House in September.
The Prime Minister said the government plans to bring together
companies, trade unions, civil society groups and other levels of government.
“During COVID, of course, we faced a once-in-a-generation challenge,” he told reporters.
“But it also opens up a once-in-a-generation opportunity to grow back stronger from the COVID pandemic.”
Mr Albanese said Treasury would also develop a White Paper on the matter.
Treasurer Jim Chalmers said that while the economic challenges were “thick on the ground,” so were the opportunities and possibilities.
“The government changed hands at a time of high and rising inflation, falling real wages, labor shortages and all the challenges that come with it,” he said.
“And so we owe it to the Australian people to try and find that common ground so that we can achieve common goals together.”
The treasurer said the summit would be led by himself and the prime minister, with individual ministers being asked to lead certain work streams.
The summit will be held in Canberra on September 1 and 2 and invitations will be sent out in August.
Australia will not respond to Beijing demands, PM says
Australia will try to cooperate with China but will not respond to a list of demands from Beijing to restore relations between the countries, Mr Albanian said.
Next China outlined four ways in which ties can be repaired.
After blaming the previous coalition government for a rift in relations between the two countries, Mr Wang said Australia should treat China as a partner rather than a rival, including “manipulation by a third party”. must reject – a veiled reference to the United States.
The prime minister said the government will stand up for national interests despite China’s demands.
“Australia is not responding to demands, we are responding to our own national interest,” he told reporters in Canberra on Monday.
Australian Foreign Minister Penny Wong speaks with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at a bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the G20 summit in Bali on July 8, 2022. Source: MONKEY † Johannes P. Christo
“I am not in a position to listen to what the Chinese media say, I will listen to what Penny Wong says about the meeting.”
Other demands from China included that the two countries seek common ground while building public support.
The Chinese foreign minister said he hoped Australia would “seize the opportunity” and come to a “correct understanding of China”.
“The root cause of the problems in China-Australia relations in recent years has been the insistence of previous Australian governments to treat China as an ‘adversary’ and even a ‘threat,'” Wang said.
The talks between Senator Wong and Mr. Wang were the first talks between the two countries’ foreign ministers in three years, following a diplomatic freeze.
Since then, China has imposed trade sanctions on many Australian goods such as barley, beef and wine.
Mr Albanian said the federal government has a consistent view of China despite the change of government in the last election.
“(The meeting) was just a step forward, Australia has not changed our position on any issue. We will remain constructive,” he said.
“I want to build good relations with all countries, but we will stand up for Australia’s interests when we have to.”
Pacific Secretary Pat Conroy said the federal government is still trying to push China on key points in the national interest in the wake of the resumption of diplomatic talks.
Secretary of the Pacific Pat Conroy. Source: MONKEY † GEORGE FRAGOPOULOS/MONKEY IMAGE
“There are important issues that we need to solve, such as the trade blockade, such as the detention of several Australian citizens and we are working hard on that,” he told ABC Radio on Monday.
“But this is a process that will take a long time, and we are committed to that dialogue, but our national interest has not changed.”
Nationals leader David Littleproud defended the previous administration’s handling of the relationship with China.
He said the talk from China and the list of demands after the meeting were “propaganda”.
“We’re happy to have a dialogue, but it’s not demanding, so you don’t throw your weight around the international community,” he told Sky News.
“This should be about open dialogue, respectful dialogue, respecting each other’s sovereignty…and that’s what we’ve done as a government.”