Friday, May 6, 2011


Australia’s resources have taken thousands of years to accumulate and are of immense value.  They should not be squandered.

There is no prospect that they will diminish in value in the years ahead, so it seems to me that we do not need to engage in a headlong rush to dig them up and sell them off as fast as possible.  Indeed I think there is a perfectly respectable case for leaving at least some of these resources for our children and grandchildren.

But seeing as we are digging them up and selling them off as fast as possible, we must at least ensure that Australia and Australians are the beneficiaries of this.

I am therefore disappointed to learn, from the Western Australian branch of the Amalgamated Metal Workers Union, that WA Premier Barnett not only allowed most of the engineering and fabrication for the Oakajee project to be done in China, but is now allowing major resources companies to send their work offshore too.

The union writes “While there are jobs up north while our major projects are being  built, most local workshops are empty, apprenticeship numbers are falling and unemployment in places like Kwinana is rising.  And, if our engineers want to help design our major projects, they have to move overseas, leaving our young engineers without senior people to learn from.

Colin Barnett talks a lot about how much our major resources companies are spending in WA, but he is very quiet about how much of this is being spent on creating skilled jobs and apprenticeships for locals.

The legacy from this new resources boom should be a highly trained and highly skilled workforce that can provide engineering and fabrication services to resources projects around the world and work together to create future industries and new jobs here in WA.”

The AMWU has a campaign slogan to go with their concerns – WA jobs from WA Resources. What Can Be Made Here, Should Be Made Here.

The resources boom presents a once in a lifetime opportunity. The WA Government has no business wasting it.

Member for Wills
Friday 6th May, 2011

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