Rural economies policy research team have published a working paper on the rural and regional work force. This paper finds that workforce issues in rural Queensland pose a complex societal problem, with significant strategic policy and program implications. Four key policy focus areas for action emerge, including regional workforce and skills shortages; workforce education and training; disruption and new workforce models for transitioning economies; and policy and program coordination. Vibrant and prosperous regional communities rely on industries that can meet their workforce needs and citizens that can find and retain employment and remain in the regions. It is argued that “that all places can grow when policy making is attuned to spatial particularities” (Pugalis & Gray 2016:181). The challenge for policymakers is how to ensure that workforce needs are identified at the local level and those policy innovations in education and training, workforce supply and workforce planning can meet the needs of rural Queensland industries and communities.
Authors: Hurriyet Babacan, Allan Dale & Jennifer McHugh (JCU/The Cairns Institute)