COSBOA has today released its submissions for Thursday’s highly anticipated Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra. The peak body for small business made four submissions on the topics of industrial relations, vocational education and training, migration, and digitisation. Key themes across all submissions include:
Addressing acute workforce shortages with immediate reforms
Ensuring comprehensive consultation with industry associations
Simplifying bureaucratic processes to make them easier for time-poor small business owners
Using the existing pathways small businesses take to get advice (i.e. accountants, bookkeepers, associations, mentors)
Creating opportunities for upskilling and lifelong learning, for both employees and business owners
Greater recognition of micro-credentials.
Key recommendations include:
Introducing a nationally recognised skills passport
Relaxing restrictions on working hours for migrants
Considering extending short-term visas to four years
Developing co-contribution schemes to fund vocational education and training, similar to the former National Workforce Development Fund or Industry Skills Fund
Incorporating digital skills into training for trades traditionally seen as ‘non-digital
Simplifying the workplace relations system, including more flexibility for part-time staff.
The release of the submissions is accompanied by the first in a series of quarterly Small Business Data Reports sponsored by Square Australia. The release compiles existing data sets about sales volumes, job vacancies, and sentiments to reflect the reality for small businesses.
COSBOA Alexi Boyd said “We are excited to finally release these submissions. We’re at a critical point in history as we grapple with the effects of post-pandemic workforce disruptions and rapid digitisation of the economy. The Summit is an opportunity to have a genuine conversation to get the ball rolling on what could be historic reforms.
“Our goal is to create the ideal policy environment in which small businesses are empowered to grow and thrive. That includes access to an appropriately skilled workforce, ease of employment, flexible opportunities for employees and small business owners to train, re-train, and upskill, as well as equal access to digital solutions.”
On the Small Business Data Report Ms Boyd said “All too often we hear politicians and government departments discuss macroeconomic figures which include data coming from big business, and this data often doesn’t reflect what small businesses and the wider community are experiencing on the ground. What we endeavour to do with this series is show data specific to small businesses to offer an additional perspective to be considered by bureaucrats when making policy decisions. We thank Square Australia for sharing its data and making these reports possible.”