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Public Affairs Insights from the Centre

22 Dec 2010

Priorities for public policy

George Onisiforou

Participants at the Centre’s recent Head of Function and Senior Practitioner Roundtable had an opportunity to discuss the changing political climate and pressing policy issues.

The recent election and instalment of the Gillard government has definitely certain ramifications. Practitioners concluded that the main consequence of the government’s unusual make-up would be a much slower process for passing legislation, that the government’s agenda would likely be much broader, and that due to departmental re-shuffling, businesses might have to reorganise their relations with government.

For participants, skills shortage is the foremost policy issue that impacts their business operations, and the subsequent need to develop a more competitive tertiary education sector in Australia. Practitioners noted that business could play a role in alleviating the skills shortage, through sponsoring apprenticeships and providing relevant funding.

Population is another policy issue impacting on business, with population distribution putting a strain on resources as well as affecting the demand for labour. Australia’s ageing population affects the entire nation, both relating to the capacity of the younger generation to support the ageing population as well as its capacity to fill the gaps left in the workforce.

One of the lessons emerging from the discussion is the need for businesses to take a more proactive role in shaping favourable policy, instead of simply reacting to negative policy.

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