This paper argues for specific, major, institutional reforms capable of building a high-skilled internationally competitive labour force in Australia. It argues for replacing the current policy of maintaining labour underutilisation as a productivity driver, with a national system of counter-cyclical public sector employment (Job Guarantee) and skills formation infrastructure, organised on a regional basis. The first section introduces the issue of Australia's deficient skill formation capacity. Sections 2 & 3 summarise deficits in key labour market institutions, the Job Network and the tertiary education sector. Section 4 highlights the chronic failure of the private sector to provide supervised opportunities for novices to undertake skilled work. Section 5 argues that the state has a unique responsibility to act, while section 6 proposes necessary components of an institutional framework. The conclusion addresses the political question of opposition to full employment.
Labour Underutilisation, Skills Shortages and Social Inclusion: Incorporating the 10th Path to Full Employment Conference and 15th National Conference on Unemployment, Labour Underutilisation, Skills Shortages and Social Inclusion: Incorporating the 10th Path to Full Employment Conference and 15th National Conference on Unemployment: Proceedings (Newcastle, NSW 04-05 December, 2008) p. 169-184