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News Media Releases State Government chooses to support foreign workers over West Australians
State Government chooses to support foreign workers over West Australians
Monday, 18 July 2011 13:58

WA unions have today accused the State Government of neglecting West Australians in favour of further skilled migration.

The State Government has criticised the federal government’s visa processes for making it hard for foreign workers to come to WA. UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk said the State Government should focus on addressing growing unemployment in WA before looking to foreign workers.

In WA the number of unemployed people has increased by nearly half since 2008 (from 382,000 to 548,000). In the South West and South East regions it has increased by over two thirds with youth unemployment currently above 20%.

“While there is much talk of skill shortages in WA, the problem is a lack of investment in training and local business opportunities, not a lack of potential workers. The Barnett Government wants to conveniently ignore this and take the easy option of bringing in foreign workers rather than investing in our young people.”

“Despite the resource boom it has never been harder to get an apprenticeship in WA. Youth unemployment in places like Kwinana, Armadale and Thornlie defies belief given the resource boom and indicates a complete lack of support by this Government for our young people.”

“The number of unemployed people in WA has risen markedly since this government came to power. Instead of looking to address this and move more of these people into work the State Government complains that it can’t bring in foreign workers fast enough. It raises serious questions over the State Government’s priorities. WA workers should benefit from WA resources before we look overseas to fill any employment gaps.”

“This Government has stood by while huge quantities of work from our resource projects have gone offshore resulting in WA businesses being forced to take on fewer and fewer staff and apprentices. The Barnett Government should support the ALP’s Skilled Jobs Bill as an important first step towards ensuring West Australians are trained up and able to take advantage of the boom. If this was the case there would be less need to rely on foreign workers at the expense of our young people.”

Simone McGurk is available for comment.

For more information contact: Madeleine Holme - 0417 060 360

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