Skills Minister Chris Evans warned on Thursday that low-skills jobs are fast disappearing from the Australian economy due to technology and structural changes. To address this growing problem, the federal government launched the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency (AWPA).
The agency, which replaced Skills Australia, is tasked with identifying and closing the skills shortage within the country. Among the issues that AWPA would seek to address is the resistance of Australian workers to shift job locations.
The mining boom has resulted in more job opportunities being created in Western Australia and Queensland, but the bulk of Australians prefer to reside and work at the country's southeast.
A recent government initiative to encourage inward migration attracted only 585 relocations to Australia's regional areas of which 60 per cent were actually within New South Wales and Queensland. Only 8 per cent were willing to relocate from the east to Western Australia and another 8 per cent were willing to shift to mining jobs.
Due to the skills shortage and unwillingness to relocate, Western Australia is expected to suffer from a shortage of 21,000 highly skilled workers by 2025, according to a study.
Besides the issue of willingness of Aussie workers to move, Universities Australia Chief Executive Belinda Robinson said acquiring higher education is the key to boost the skills of Australians.
"Whether it be in powering innovation, ensuring our environmental sustainability or maximizing our involvement in the Asian Century, the pivotal role of higher education cannot be overstated," The Australian quoted Ms Robinson.
AWPA is headed by Philip Bullock, the former managing director of IBM Australia. The agency's board members include Peter Anderson, the chief executive of the Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Heather Ridout, a member of the Reserve Bank of Australia board.
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