Mining companies told to chip in

Press release from The Nationals:

Nationals WA candidate for Geraldton, Shane Van Styn, today welcomed a plan to help build a skilled workforce in Western Australia by extending the Construction Industry Training Fund levy to projects in the resources sector.

Shane Van Styn said if The Nationals WA retain the balance of power at the upcoming State election they would expand the Construction Industry Training Fund, which supports skills programs including apprenticeships, entry level training, research and accreditation, by requiring the resource sector contribute to the Fund.

“At the moment non-mining construction and building projects contribute to the Fund and help train workers, while the resources sector doesn’t pay but reaps the benefits of having access to these skilled workers.” Shane Van Styn said.

“The Nationals want to ensure mining and resource construction projects are contributing to training opportunities and building the skills of our Geraldton workforce.”

“Currently many workers are flown in from interstate due to the claim that locals do not have the required skills. Expanding the fund will mean more opportunities for apprentices and workers in Geraldton and the wider Midwest.”

He said the levy was 0.2 per cent of the value of a construction project and it currently included residential, commercial and civil engineering projects valued at more than $20,000.

“We have feedback from the building and construction industry that they are struggling to retain apprentices and skilled workers with the high salaries offered by the resources sector, so they are essentially providing free-training for the resource sector.

Mr Van Styn said the resources industry was responsible for many of the major construction projects in WA, with an estimated $167 billion worth of projects underway or in the pipeline last year alone.

“Not having the resource sector contribute to the fund means the State is missing out on millions of dollars every year that could be used to train young West Australians.”

Van Styn said recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicted that WA would face a shortage of 76,000 skilled workers by 2015.

“Western Australian workers should have access to training to capitalise on these employment opportunities.”

Shane Van Styn said it would help address the skills shortage, create regional employment opportunities and increase the number of local skilled workers in the State for major regional projects.

“The Nationals WA are committed to addressing the skills shortage and our Construction Industry Training Fund policy ensures everyone in the industry is sharing the costs of training.