2020 gabfest calls for national regulations and mobile labour market

By: Jason Whittaker

The Federal Government will consider whether to enforce national standards in the transport industry as well as open the country’s

The Federal Government will consider whether to enforce national standards in the transport industry as well as open the country’s labour market to migrants as it develops a response to the 2020 Summit.

The talkfest, which brought together 1,000 people from all over Australia and divided them into 10 groups, was intended to develop ideas to meet future challenges as well as ensure the country’s prosperity.

While the call for harmonised regulations may not be a ‘fresh idea’, one group called for national licensing standards to be enforced across road and rail sectors.

One participant advocated federal government penalties and incentives to ensure jurisdictions work actively to progress necessary reforms.

Furthermore, summiteers recommended a national approach to transport infrastructure, with a report of the event saying it was essential to improving the state of rail.

"In rail infrastructure, such an approach would help facilitate catch-up and improve both the modality of our current network and intermodal hubbing," the report says.

National guidelines also dominated discussions on the future of the economy, with participants pushing for a national system to streamline taxes as well as single national markets in major areas of economic activity such as transport.

"The goal should be to minimise overlaps and bottlenecks to improve competitiveness," the report says.

And the industry will soon know if the Government is serious about scrapping regulation overlaps, as Prime Minister Kevin Rudd will respond to the summit proposals by the end of the year.

Rudd will also detail his Government’s approach toward addressing the skills shortages currently afflicting the supply chain.

Summit participants proposed the Government reform immigration laws to create a mobile labour market from the Asia-Pacific region underpinned by Australian workplace standards.

As well as this, summiteers recommended more be done to make education and training systems more flexible and relevant.

The talkfest also supported a move to have employers take responsibility for developing the skills of their workforce, which, in turn, will enable employers to access a flexible, demand driven training system.

Congestion pricing also gained traction during the summit, with the report noting there participants "vigorously advocated" for electronic traffic congestion pricing.

And although the country has yet to develop its own carbon trading scheme, attendees suggested the Government look into committing Australia to a global scheme in an effort to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

These ideas, as well as others, were thrashed out over a two-day period from April 19 to 20. The 2020 Summit was made up of groups which included productivity, economy, rural industries and governance.

According to the Government, the summit’s aim was to help develop long-term strategies for the nation’s future.

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