Australia creates skilled migration advisory council

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Australian Immigration Minister Chris Bowen has announced the creation of the Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration (MACSM) which will provide the Australian government with expert advice on the role of skilled migration in the Australian economy.

"Skilled migration plays a valuable role in addressing current and future skill shortages, as well as lessening the impact of Australia's ageing population, and it's important that we have fresh perspectives on how to best address these issues," Bowen said. "This new ministerial advisory council will provide the government with independent advice to help develop our migration policies and programs."

Bowen said the council members had been chosen from a wide range of backgrounds; They have been chosen for their relevant experience, and professional expertise. They will provide advice to the Minister for Immigration and Citizenship on Australia's temporary and permanent skilled migration programs. This includes reviewing the impact of skilled migration on the Australian economy and labour market, looking at the size and composition of the annual migration program, and considering the contribution of skilled migration to net overseas migration.

MACSM will inevitably be compared with the UK Migration Advisory Committee. It is expected that the Australian Ministerial Advisory Council on Skilled Migration will be more pro-immigration than the UK MAC.

Members of the new council include:
  • Michael Easson, chair of the council and executive chair of the EG Property Group
  • Grant O'Brien, Managing Director and CEO Woolworths
  • James Pearson, Chief Executive of Chamber of Commerce and Industry WA
  • Karen Read, General Manager of Financial Services, Commercial and Administration, Xstrata
  • Innes Willox, Chief Executive of Australian Industry Group
  • Paul Howes, National Secretary of Australian Workers' Union
  • Ged Kearney, President of Australian Council of Trade Unions
  • Peter McDonald, Director of Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute
  • Dave Noonan, National Secretary of Construction, Forestry, Mining and Energy Union
  • Peter Tighe, National Secretary of Communications, Electrical and Plumbing Union of Australia.
Additionally, each state and territory will be represented by a government official nominated by its state premier or territory chief minister.

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