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News Media Releases Where are the Wheatstone jobs going? "As if I'd know" admits Barnett
Where are the Wheatstone jobs going? "As if I'd know" admits Barnett
Tuesday, 27 September 2011 11:51

 The announcement by Chevron that the $29billion Wheatstone LNG development would proceed at Onslow has been labelled as bittersweet by unions, engineers and fabricators.

An analysis by WA unions has lifted the veil on Chevron’s lack of commitment to WA. It shows that an alarming amount of manufacturing tenders were awarded to overseas companies months before a final investment decision was made. These include:

 LNG Train Refrigeration Compressors & Gas Turbines – Ohio USA & Florence, Italy

 Nitrogen Generators – Norway

 Utility Vessels, Positive Displacement Pumps, Tanks, Drums, Light Wall Pressure Vessels – South Korea

 Air Compressor and Dryer – Malaysia

 Sea Water Filters – USA

 Process Electrical Heater – Singapore

 Positive Displacement Pumps – Italy

 Firewater Pumps – Norway

When questioned in parliament about how much engineering and fabrication work for the $29 billion project would be done in WA, the WA Premier replied: "As if I would know the answer to that," calling all questions about the early development and fabrication process "redundant." (Hansard, September 22)

"This is shameful, but typical of a Government that is not in control of the State’s resources," said UnionsWA secretary Simone McGurk.

"We know that most of the upfront work is being done in Italy, Norway, the US , Korea and elsewhere, so why doesn’t he?"

Chevron claims that the project will create 6500 jobs in its first six years, and inject $17 billion into Australian businesses and services over the project life. But unions are sceptical.

"With Mr Barnett confessing in Parliament that he has no idea where the engineering and fabrication work will be done for Wheatstone, it is clear he has given local industry participation in the project very little thought’" said Australian Manufacturing Workers Union (AMWU) State Secretary Steve McCartney.

"Unfortunately, as he did with the Gorgon project, it appears Mr Barnett has dropped the ball on Wheatstone as well.

"Mr Barnett needs to get serious about winning local manufacturing jobs from the Wheatstone Project. He needs to put politics aside and support joint union and industry efforts to provide more skilled jobs and opportunities for local people," he said.

"After all it’s our gas and it should be our jobs."

While welcoming Chevron’s decision today, Australian Steel Industry State Manager James England said the local fabrication industry was already missing out on Wheatstone work.

"Wheatstone has already awarded major fabrication contracts to offshore workshops, including the 57,000 tonnes offshore platform, which will be built in South Korea," he said. "That work could have been taken on by Australian companies."

APESMA State President Zaneta Mascarenhas said Wheatstone had also sent the vast majority of its engineering and design work offshore too.

"Chevron has performed the vast majority of its engineering and design work for both the Gorgon and Wheatstone projects offshore, denying local engineers the chance to work on this highly skilled, high value work," she said.

"This means we are not developing the skills to do this work in WA and, if the engineering and design work is done offshore, local fabrication businesses stand very little chance of getting work from the projects also."

Earlier this month, a Labor-backed bill aimed at ensuring more skilled work was performed locally for WA’s major resource projects was voted down 26 – 25 in State Parliament.

"That one vote ensured that companies would not have to show how many skilled jobs were being created locally from big projects, and that means that West Australians may not even see the benefits of projects like Wheatstone," Ms McGurk said.

"It seems that the State Government is going to let Chevron run amok with our resources. There is no transparency anywhere. Only Chevron knows how many local workers will get jobs and where it expects to get all the skilled workers it needs. The Premier has admitted he has no idea about what is going on."

 

 
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