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Tuesday, 6 September 1983
Page: 445

Question No. 297

Mr Macphee asked the Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations, upon notice, on 26 May 1983:

Further to the commitment in the statement of the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs indicating less reliance on the migration program as a source of skilled workers, greater emphasis on the training and re-training of Australians to fill skilled vacancies and the intention to develop a manpower planning approach to ensure that economic recovery was not held back by skilled labour shortages, can he indicate (a) what additional training and re-training programs the Government has in mind, (b) whether it has been possible to overcome any position of craft unions to mature age training and (c) whether he endorses the attitude that when the world economy recovers the Government's manpower planning approach will avert a return to levels of skilled migration similar to those experienced during the period of the previous Government.

Mr Willis —The answer to the honourable member's question is as follows:

As the Minister for Immigration and Ethnic Affairs indicated in his statement on the migration program to the House of Representatives on 18 May 1983, we will , together with the Minister for Education and Youth Affairs and the Treasurer, be looking for alternatives to the recruitment of skilled workers overseas to reduce Australia's long-standing reliance on this source of labour supply. To this end, we directed officials to review possible alternatives and report to us by end-August. Furthermore, as I announced to the House on 19 May the Government will also be conducting a broad review of all existing training and assistance programs to ensure that they fully meet our objectives. The Government therefore expects to be in a position to take training, re-training and related intiatives during the course of 1983-84 which will help to ensure that Australia's skilled labour requirements are met by Australian residents to a greater extent than in the past.