Published: Friday December 10, 2010 MYT 2:47:00 PM
Western Australia needs skilled migrants for mining boom
SYDNEY: The West Australian (WA) government said on Friday it would target overseas workers to help fill the gap in the state's skills shortage as mining continues to boom, China's Xinhua news agency reported.
WA Training and Workforce Development Minister Peter Collier announced the government's workforce development plan to address a range of labour problems in the state.
He said the number of workers leaving the workforce combined with population growth would create a gap of about 150,000 workers in WA in the next seven years.
One of the issues identified by Collier was the skills shortage that was to get worse with 220 billion AU dollars (US$217 billion) worth of major projects over the coming years.
In addressing this problem, the minister said one of the goals would be to use skilled migrants to fill vacancies that cannot be filled by local workers.
As a result the WA government has signed an agreement with the federal government which will allow the state to sponsor 6,000 visa applications for the 2010 programme year.
"Training and preparing West Australians for the workforce is our number one priority," Collier said in a statement. "However, targeted migration will be an important strategy in filling those high value vacancies unable to be filled by the local workforce," the minister said.
WA's Chamber of Minerals and Energy welcomed the plan saying attracting and retaining skilled workers was critical in delivering sustained economic growth in the resources sector. - Bernama