The Victorian Transport Association (VTA) has welcomed the decision to review Australia’s migration system and calls for freight drivers to be designated as highly skilled, fast-tracking migrant drivers’ permanent residency applications.
The Minister for Home Affairs, Clare O’Neil, has released the Review of the Migration System final report which recommends providing clearer pathways for permanent residency to freight drivers thereby addressing the chronic labour shortage the transport industry has experienced for years.
VTA CEO, Peter Anderson, said the government needs to address the chronic labour shortage the transport industry has been experiencing for years.
“Our recovery from the pandemic has sharpened the focus on this shortage because as the economy has started to recover, the lack of qualified drivers has become a factor in supply chain disruptions, which has far-reaching impacts for businesses and consumers,” Anderson said.
This year, the National Skills Commission Skills Priority List finally acknowledged that truck driving was an occupation suffering shortages.
A recent VTA conference survey reiterated that fact with results showing 90 per cent of surveyors reported driver shortages in their business and required recruitment over the past year.
Anderson warned that unless the government acted quickly and recognised truck drivers as highly skilled, Australia would lose valuable skilled migrants to other countries.
“Training and licencing reform is one part of the solution to the labour crisis in transport, but our migration rules also have a part to play,” said Anderson.
“If we gave the occupation a higher priority and recognised it as the profession it is, it would certainly help to ease supply chain pressures in the economy.”
Anderson said the review was timely because Australia faces stiff competition for skilled labour from countries facing similar shortages.
“Unless the government acts, Australia will continue to lose potential migrants to countries like Canada, the United States and the UK for drivers, and if we gave the occupation a higher priority and recognised it as the profession it is, it would certainly help to ease supply chain pressures in the economy,” he added.