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Understanding Regional Skill Shortages: A Review of Recent Australian Government Policy

  • Year: 2004
  • Author: McKenzie, Fiona
  • Journal Name: Australasian Journal of Regional Studies, The
  • Journal Number: Vol. 10, No. 3
  • Country: Australia

In recent years, the issue of regional skills shortages has received growing attention among policy makers in Australia. This attention has come from a variety of agencies, such as those dealing with: regional development, industry and employment, training and education. There is also interest from agencies with specific labour force focus such as health departments concerned about access to medical services in regional areas. The involvement of many different types of agency has led to different understandings and responses to skills issues, depending upon the focus of the agency in question and the portfolio of policies for which it does (or does not) have responsibility. This paper aims to clarify these different interests, roles and understandings in order to then develop a more holistic framework in which regional skills issues can be better understood. It is hoped that this more integrated approach will allow policy makers to better understand the full range of causal factors involved in regional skills issues, the different responses to the issue, and ways in which spatial perspectives can inform industry-based approaches and vice versa. The paper also highlights the data and information available to those wishing to investigate skills issues further, and critically examines the degree to which data gaps can limit our understanding of regional skills issues.

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