Thursday, February 29, 2024

LG survey reveals magnitude of skills crisis

ALGA President, Linda Scott says a snapshot of the nation’s local government workforce released today shows that Australia’s 537 councils are looking to work with the Commonwealth Government to deliver Australia more engineers, town planners, building surveyors, environmental health officers, accountants and HR professionals.

President Scott said the 2022 Local Government Workforce Skills and Capability Survey had highlighted the magnitude of the current jobs and skills crisis.  

“More than nine out of every 10 councils are currently facing jobs and skills shortages which are acting as a handbrake on local productivity,” said President Scott. 

“When councils can’t get the staff we need to build much-needed libraries and pools, or maintain our roads, footpaths and cycleways, the impacts are felt right across our nation.” 

The Survey was funded by the Department of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development, Communications and the Arts, and updates a previous survey conducted in 2018. 

ALGA President, Linda Scott.

President Scott said the latest survey results showed the jobs and skills crisis in local government was deepening. 

“In just four years, we’ve seen the number of councils experiencing jobs and skills shortages increase by around 30%,” she said. 

“The main issues councils are experiencing are a shortage of skilled candidates, and often an inability to compete with the private sector and other levels of government on remuneration.” 

She said local governments could play a more significant role addressing Australia’s broader jobs and skills crisis, including through giving young people a start via traineeships and apprenticeships. 

“It was fantastic to see the announcement of an extra $1 billion for fee-free TAFE places at the recent Jobs and Skills Summit but we’re seeking funding that will support councils to employ more apprentices and create jobs and new career pathways right across our nation,” President Scott said.

“As the level of government closest to its community, local governments are ideally placed to be an anchor organisation in the community, supporting economic development and local employment.

“But for councils to play a bigger role in addressing the shortages, we need more funding and support from all levels of government. 

“Federal Financial Assistance Grants to councils have slipped from one percent of Commonwealth taxation revenue in 1996 to just 0.52% today, and this is making it harder for councils to attract and retain the staff they need. 

“With a full picture of the jobs and skills gaps across our sector, we look forward to working with all levels of government towards practical solutions,” she said.

The full report is available here.

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