Rudd vows to fix labour, supply chain bottlenecks to control inflation

By: Jason Whittaker

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has vowed to tackle the skills shortage crisis as well as infrastructure bottlenecks, despite neglecting to

Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has vowed to tackle the skills shortage crisis as well as infrastructure bottlenecks, despite neglecting to mention what his Government¹s approach to the transport industry would be.

Delivering a speech in Perth this morning, Rudd said his Government had created a five-point plan to keep inflation down. Addressing skills shortages was listed at three, followed by the issue of infrastructure bottlenecks.

Rudd said Labor will address Australia¹s skills shortage crisis by developing more training places through the Skilling Australia for the Future policy.

Rudd said Deputy Prime Minister Julia Gillard will, at an unspecified date, meet with state and territory organisations to allocate training places to industries suffering the greatest shortages.

However, constraints in the transport sector and how Rudd¹s Government would act to fix them were not addressed.

Instead, Rudd focussed on the mining and construction sectors, and said they would be the first in line to receive government training assistance.

"The mining and construction sectors - so pivotal to the West Australian economy - are likely to be prime candidates," he said.

"The construction industry is also experiencing labour constraints."

So too is the transport industry, according to a recent employment survey. As reported by ATN, the January Hays Quarterly Forecast pointed to a shortage of transport schedulers and fleet controllers as well as warehouse supervisors.

Rudd also said his Government would establish Infrastructure Australia to address supply chain and urban congestion bottlenecks, as well as to advise government on policy and regulatory reforms.

"Infrastructure Australia will undertake an audit of national infrastructure in the areas of transport, energy, communications and water."

"It will develop national infrastructure priorities."

Despite this, Rudd did not reveal when Infrastructure Australia would begin its audit.

However, he did hint at a cooperative federalism approach to solving Australia¹s infrastructure bottlenecks, in line with his "ending the blame game" approach to federal-state relations.

"The Government will also work closely with its state and territory counterparts to develop appropriate national frameworks for infrastructure delivery," he said.

Rudd said COAG has established an Infrastructure Working Group which will look at coordinating infrastructure planning and investment as well as "identifying and removing blockages to productive investment in infrastructure."

"Well targeted, integrated, efficient infrastructure will help boost our productivity - ensuring that goods and services get to market as quickly as possible, and people get to and from work with minimal delay," he said.

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