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Skills inquiry findings reflect business concerns.

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MEDIA RELEASE 25 November 2003 for immediate release

Office of Senator George Campbell Shadow Manufacturing Industries Spokesperson

Skills Inquiry findings reflect business concerns

Two weeks ago, the Senate committee into Current and Future Skill Needs reported that Australia is in the grips of a skills crisis. This finding has been reaffirmed in the results of the latest Australian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (ACCI) Survey of Investor Confidence.

In the quarterly survey, Australian employers have named the lack of suitably qualified employees as one of the most important factors constraining business investment.

Especially worrying is the rapid ascent of skill shortages up the list of concerns. In only three months skill shortages have become:

• The number two constraint on investment for small businesses (up from the 5th ranked constraint)

• The number two constraint on investment for medium sized businesses (up from the 4th ranked constraint); and

• The number two constraint on investment for large business (up from the 4th ranked constraint).

“The results of this survey provide further evidence that this government has fallen asleep at the wheel when it comes to skills formation,” said Senator Campbell.

“The skills crisis is getting worse on a monthly basis and Australian businesses of all sizes are carrying the economic burden. At the same time 15,000 young Australians every year miss out on the opportunity to go to TAFE and learn the skills that business so desperately needs.”

“The Howard government must move immediately to adopt one of the key findings contained in the committee’s report, Bridging The Skills Divide, and increase funding to the Australian National Training Authority (ANTA) as part of the current negotiations for the 2004-06 ANTA agreement.”

“Every day they refuse is another day of lost opportunity and lost revenue for Australian business.”

Media Contact: George Campbell 0418 403 406 Mark Hebblewhite 0401 849 599