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News Media Releases Unions call for more transparency by resource giants
Unions call for more transparency by resource giants
Wednesday, 31 August 2011 11:58

UnionsWA Secretary Simone McGurk is calling for more transparency in the tendering process for big resource projects, as West Australian steel manufacturers reveal they are feeling the pressure of fabrication projects going overseas.

A survey published today revealed that 77 per cent of steel businesses in WA felt they were being ignored by the big mining companies which were sending fabrication work offshore.

Employment in the sector is down a whopping 20 percent on 2007-08 levels, and fewer trainees and apprentices are being employed.

The unions call comes in wake of closures at BlueScope Steel in Wollongong, NSW.  BlueScope Steel last week announced it would axe 1,400 jobs and get out of the export market after posting a $1 billion loss.

Ms McGurk says that the resource giants need to let people see how they are making the decision to send work, which could be done in Western Australia, to other countries. This would open up the local market to tender competitively for the projects, she said.

“There’s not only a need for more manufacturing work to be done by Australian companies, but the design work needs to be done by local designers and engineers,” Ms McGurk said.

She says designs created offshore are drawn to overseas specifications, and therefore the contracts to manufacture these components go to offshore suppliers.

“If more of the ground work was done within Australia, to Australian design specifications, local manufacturers would be the natural choice to fabricate components. This would not only keep jobs within the country, it would create more jobs and opportunities for better training.”
There is no requirement for big resource projects to employ trainees nor apprentices, despite the lack of a skilled workforce.
Prime Minister Julia Gillard has rejected calls for an inquiry into the manufacturing sector.
"We don't want to be held up by having an inquiry. There are things we need to do now," the Prime Minister  told reporters in Wollongong, earlier today. 

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