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Home > Business > PTI > Report

Australian MP slams offshoring jobs to India

April 04, 2007 11:28 IST

An Opposition party in Australia has expressed concern over the growing trend of offshoring jobs to countries like India, saying high-skill "knowledge jobs" could follow the manufacturing sector offshore if the country did not invest more in higher education.

"Australia had lost numerous low, semi and unskilled jobs to developing countries like India during the past ten years," said Stephen Smith, opposition education spokesman.

Smith warned these job cuts would be replicated in higher skilled sectors unless spending on higher education was increased.

"In manufacturing, for example, we've seen more than 145,000 Australian jobs lost since 1996, 60,000 of which have occurred in the last three years," he told the Higher Education Summit in Melbourne, The Age reported on Wednesday.

"If we are not careful, in the next 20 years we will also be at risk of losing the high-knowledge, high-value, high-skill jobs and that will kill our prosperity."

By 2010, there would 25 million tertiary students in China, Smith said, and India was also making major investments in higher education.

"Both posed an economic and social challenge to us. While some may question the quality of the education these students currently receive, both countries, like others in our region, understand and appreciate the value of a high quality education," Smith said, adding "And they are treating investment in high education as a strategic investment."

Smith said Australia's spending on education, at 5.8 per cent of GDP, was behind that of 17 other OECD countries.

"We have to recognise the importance of education as both a foundation for productivity and economic growth and a necessity for the well-being of our people," he added.

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