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News News Boom jobs need training, purchasing and planning, not stunts

Meredith Hammat, President, UnionsWA today responded to media reports that the Barnett Government and business executives will visit eastern states to attract skilled workers to take jobs in WA’s resources boom and highlighted the need for the Barnett Government to ensure better training and purchasing by resource companies as well as planning to address rising essential costs of living in WA.

“Even in the back of beyond they’ve heard about resource jobs in the WA, this trip is just an expensive stunt.

“Worse, it is a diversion away from what really matters if WA and Australia are to get a lasting benefit from the resource boom. These resources belong to WA and this boom is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

“What is needed is a commitment to training, for resource companies to allow Australian manufacturers to compete fairly for purchases and planning to ensure that the pressures of the boom don’t result in ever rising housing and other essential costs of living.

“Our training record in WA is appalling.  With all the construction work as well as the machinery and vehicles that need to be maintained you’d expect more training in those critical areas.  In fact we are going backwards. 

“According to recent data from the National Centre for Vocational Education and Research, since the Barnett Government came to office in 2008 we now have 1,100 fewer people in training for automotive and engineering jobs and the same short-fall with 1,100 fewer in training for construction jobs.

“From June 2008 to 2011 electricity costs have gone up by 57% and rents are up by 25%. Just importing more workers into WA will make those costs of living worse.

“Parts of the manufacturing sector in WA and over east are doing it hard.  Resource companies could purchase more local manufactured products.

“If the Barnett Government spent less time on stunts, and more time planning and taking action on training and in response to the boom, then we could have jobs that last and a reasonable cost of living.”
National Centre for Vocational Education and Research,  Apprentices and Trainees 2011 – December quarter.

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