Comments on Peter McDonald “Demand for workers will outstrip fear about resources”, 10/05/2010, http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/demand-for-workers-will-outstrip-fear-about-resources/story-e6frg6zo-1225864239240
With all respect, it seems that Peter McDonald, director of the Australian Demographic and Social Research Institute at the Australian National University, is using nothing more than only partial arguments to support his points. And that is a pity and regrettable in terms of informing the debate and the public.
People know that it is notoriously difficult to forecast the economy, the resource sector particularly when it is driven by overseas demand and labour demand due to the resource sector. In that case the advantages of forecast of labour demand for certainty for population and immigration planning purpose would certainly be overwhelmed by the uncertainty created by any forecasts, no matter how credible and reasonable one might consider they are.
So, the argument for immigration planning based on forecast of resources sector growth is nice in name only and naive and impractical.
However, that does not mean immigration cannot be part of the solution to any labour shortage. Everyone knows that we can vary immigration intake very easily, that is to either increase or decrease as the domestic demand changes.
So the latter solution is much better than what McDonald argues.
The lesson from this is that many studies, while well intended, may fall far short than what are needed to be reliable and credible, because of their narrow focuses, or the limitations of their authors, if not greater strategic framework is considered.