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News Media Releases Premier points finger at local industry for the offshoring of skilled work to China
Premier points finger at local industry for the offshoring of skilled work to China
Wednesday, 16 February 2011 14:38

Western Australia’s steel fabrication industry has been disappointed by remarks made by Premier Colin Barnett in Parliament yesterday, urging them to “do more” to win skilled work from WA’s major resources projects.

Mr Barnett made the remarks in response to a question by Opposition Leader Eric Ripper, who questioned the Premier on his failure to keep his 2009 promise that, “Gorgon will fill up WA’s workshops for years.”

Australian Manufacturing Workers Union State Secretary Steve McCartney said it was hypocritical for the Premier to tell the local steel industry to do more to win work, when the Premier himself was doing deals to send skilled work to China.

“In 2009, Premier Colin Barnett signed an agreement with Oakajee Port and Rail that will see most of the engineering and fabrication for the project done in China,” he said.

“At about the same, the Gorgon Gas Project got its final environmental approval and Mr Barnett boasted that projects like Gorgon would fill WA’s workshops for years.

“However, with Chevron and other major resources companies following Mr Barnett’s Oakajee lead and sending most of Gorgon’s engineering and manufacturing work offshore, our local fabrication and engineering businesses and the thousands of workers they employ can’t see how the Premier’s promise is going to be kept.”

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk said the Premier needed to roll up his sleeves and work harder himself.

“Mr Barnett seems to think that his success as Premier is dependent on the number of big resources projects that get underway while he is in the job,” Ms McGurk said.

“The truth is, every Premier since Sir David Brand has overseen new resources projects.  Big resources companies are attracted to WA because we have huge reserves of iron ore, gas and other natural resources and we are a low sovereign risk environment.

“Mr Barnett’s success as Premier will be judged by how good a deal he does with resources companies when allowing them to use our natural resources.  It is time Mr Barnett rolled up his sleeves and did more to get a better deal for local industry and workers, instead of telling local industry they should do more.”

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