GETTING people to relocate for work is one of the biggest drivers of skills shortages in regional Australia, a Federal Government discussion paper released on Thursday has confirmed.
The paper, on Australia's skills and workforce needs, is looking to industry to fill the gaps on what could be done to battle skills shortages across a range of sectors.
Released by the Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency - which replaced Skills Australia - the report outlines some of the challenges facing regional Australia's skills needs.
In launching the paper, Skills Minister Chris Evans outlined a future where lower-skilled workers would be in less demand while highly skilled workers with tertiary qualifications will continue to be in high demand.
Under four economic scenarios, every option highlighted more demand for post-school qualifications, with a shrinking need for lower skilled workers.
A major challenge in regional areas was labour mobility, with a recent government scheme to encourage the move attracting only 584 relocations to regional areas, 60% of whom moved within or to New South Wales or Queensland.
That figure was in stark contrast to the 8% of applicants willing to move from the east to Western Australia, and just 8% of people willing to move for jobs in mining.
Another regional problem was the unique differences between regions, with some areas booming and other lagging behind with dying industries and urban migration removing workers.
But Mr Evans said this only emphasised the continued growth of fly-in, fly-out practices, with most workers preferring to stay in capital cities and fly to jobs in the regions.
He said mining was not the only sector facing great challenges, with health and community services likely to create the biggest challenges.
While the discussion paper offers no ready solutions, Mr Evans said it was an effort to find out what should be done, and he wanted to hear from industry to address nation-wide skills shortages.