Outgoing ACS president, Edward Mandla, has highlighted a skilled migration clampdown as one of the most rewarding and controversial policy decisions of his two-year tenure. He said he had found it difficult to convince the Department of Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs (DIMIA) to plug the loophole allowing 457 visa holders to come into the country as skilled migrants.
"Other lobby groups had been at the government saying we needed more migrants, so bring on 457 holders," he said. "You have to look at this suspiciously, particularly with larger companies. Cheap migrants on fixed wages lower costs and raise profitability."
Mandla has rolled out 15 policies during his time at the ACS. They were indicative of the organisation's transition into an industry think-tank, he said.
"From a government point of view, we used to be at the tail-end of things," he said. "We are now upfront discussing the terms of reference before the working groups get together."
Mandla highlighted his work on promoting open source software and deterring the industry from offshoring as key milestones.
"We have to be a user and producer of ICT," he said.
But his favourite issue was the balance of lifestyle and work.
"I think that in 10 years' time, no two people will work in the same way," Mandla said.