In what’s being called an addition to WA’s skills shortage, Gina Rinehart’s $7 billion iron ore mine in the Pilbara will need at least 10,000 workers to achieve operational status.
And in spite of youth unemployment being 19 per cent in the region and going as high as 28 per cent in one area, project operators Roy Hill applied to the federal Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA) in an effort to make it easier for them to import overseas workers to fill mining job vacancies when the time comes.
Fearing foreign semi-skilled workers will dominate the work; Hill’s application for the EMA raised the ire of Unions WA who says locals should be trained for the mine jobs. A spokesman for Roy Hill responded by saying 2000 of the 10,000 mining jobs would be “highly paid” permanent positions intended for Australian residents.
Locals first choice for jobs
According to the Roy Hill spokesman, locals would be first choice for the remaining 8000 mine jobs, but labour market analysts had predicted not enough mining and construction workers would be found in Australia. He added that under EMA rules, employers had to show that local workers were unavailable before searching overseas to fill the vacancies for the numerous mining job positions.
Unions WA secretary Simone McGurk said minerals the mining industry relied on are owned by West Australians and their extraction is a one-off.
McGurk added: “Once they’re gone, they’re gone. So we only get one shot at securing long-term benefits, such as employment for our kids.”
$7bn iron ore project needs 10,000 workers
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