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News Media Releases Barnett needs to move now to ensure Wheatstone jobs
Barnett needs to move now to ensure Wheatstone jobs
Thursday, 22 September 2011 17:15

 UnionsWA is calling on the Barnett Government to ensure that West Australians benefit from Chevron’s Wheatstone LNG project, now that it has been granted federal environmental approval.

"Now is the time to jump in and make sure that as much fabrication work and as many jobs as possible go to West Australians," UnionsWA secretary Simone McGurk said.

"This is touted to be possibly one of the country’s biggest resource projects, with a lifespan of 20 or more years. Surely, the State Government would like to see as much revenue as possible stay in WA and benefit local manufacturers and workers," she said.

Ms McGurk says that Chevron needs to let people see how it is making decision about where work is done. Resource companies have been heavily criticised for sending fabrication work offshore.

"All we want is for some transparency in the tendering and hiring processes. This would open up the local market to tender competitively for the projects," she said.

"Less than 10 per cent of the 300,000 tons of steel required for Chevron’s Gorgon project is being fabricated here, and that’s not good enough. It shows that Chevron is happy to send the work offshore and along with it, jobs and income for WA.

"Colin Barnett has to get tough and make sure a bigger per centage of the work is done in Australia," Ms McGurk said.

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.

"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.

"There’s a real economic domino effect when local designs win contracts. They are drawn to Australian specifications, so that could lead on to the contracts to manufacture these components to stay in this country instead of being shipped in from overseas competitors.

"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.

Federal Environmental Minister Tony Burke announced earlier today that, following a rigorous process, the massive liquefied natural gas project had been approved, with project partners given 70 strict conditions to adhere to. The WA Government gave the project environmental approval last month.

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