The Australian’s Economic Editor Judith Sloan says Australia needs to try and “drive up the participation rate” in the labour workforce amid a shortage of skilled migrant workers.

“We’ve brought in an additional five million people this century and they’re still talking about worker shortages, they’re still talking about skills shortages,” Ms Sloan told Sky News host Alan Jones.

“Do we really want a labour market, which is geared to bringing in a lot of relatively low skilled workers…because bear in mind when an employer says there are skills shortages, or worker shortages, they’re often saying ‘I can’t get workers at the wage rate I want to pay’.

“One of the things that’s happened during COVID is that there was a lot of government money around and a lot of people withdrew from the labour market and a lot of people would probably still have some resources left from those subsidies that they were able to achieve.”

“What we really need to do is try and drive up the participation rate and to make sure that the workers are going to the jobs where the demand is.

“I’m not arguing for zero migration, I think we do need to have a small balanced program, and that should continue, but I really would like the politicians to open up this debate.”

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