|Monday, 11 June 2012|
A WEBSITE set up by the federal government specifically advertising resources jobs aims to give Australian workers the first shot at getting jobs, including on projects covered by an enterprise migration agreement.
The Resources Sector Jobs Board, a subdivision of the government’s existing Australian JobsSearch site, went live yesterday.
The federal government faced criticism last month after approving a landmark EMA for Gina Rinehart’s Roy Hill iron ore project in the Pilbara.
The website will allow projects and companies covered by EMAs to demonstrate they have provided opportunities to Australians ready, able and willing to work on EMA projects.
The Roy Hill partners will be required to seek Australian workers from the website first before it can bring as many as 1700 foreign workers into the country to build the project.
“We don’t want to miss out on these mega projects and the new jobs they create but we are also determined to spread the benefits of the mining boom,” Employment Minister Bill Shorten, Immigration Minister Chris Bowen and Employment Participation Minister Kate Ellis said in a joint statement.
“Ensuring Australians are given first crack at resources jobs is a major part of that commitment.”
Australian Council of Trade Unions secretary Dave Oliver said the site was a positive step in addressing Australian workers’ concerns.
“Those concerns arose from a lack of assurances that any process was in place to assess the resources sector’s skilled and semi-skilled labour requirements,” he said.
“At the time of the announcement, there had been no independent evidence to back up claims by mining magnates like Gina Rinehart that there aren’t enough Australian workers to meet the needs of future resources projects.”
Oliver said recent job losses in the eastern states made the resources sector more attractive to prospective workers.
“There’s no doubt that there are skilled Australians keen and willing to work in the mining sector,” he said.
“Some will want to move to the resource-rich regions permanently, while others will want to fly in and out on a rotating roster.
“The forecast size of expansion of the sector may require employers to look beyond our shores, and unions have never opposed skilled migration, but it is essential that opportunities be given to local workers, and the Jobs Board will help to ensure that.”
Resource industry employer group AMMA also welcomed the launch of the site.
AMMA executive director of industry Minna Knight said jobseekers accessing the government jobs board would be linked to industry-run website miningoilandgasjobs.com, which has been running since late last year.
“This is a step in the right direction for jobseekers, employers and the government to address the industry’s skills and labour crisis,” she said.
Knight said jobseekers could be assured that all jobs were directly from employers, reducing the opportunity for scams or misinformation.
“The website currently has more than 1900 vacancies and regularly hosts jobs expos,” she said.
“The most recent expo in Perth attracted more than 14,000 jobseekers.”
The National Resource Sector Employment Taskforce expects that current activity will create about 62,000 new mining jobs by 2015.
“The NRSET research was conducted in the first half of 2010 and since then we’ve seen further multi-billion dollar project approvals, record resources exports and heightened mining activity across the board,” Knight said.
“This demonstrates the figure of 62,000 is merely a starting point for industry estimates.
“While the industry supports the NRSET recommendations, we encourage the government to fast-track as many of the recommendations as possible so we can upskill, train and better prepare Australians for many of the roles which will be created in the coming years.”
The website can be accessed at http://jobsearch.gov.au/resourcesectorjobs/default.aspx.
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