Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Dave Oliver Was Elected Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions Last Month. before He Headed Up the ACTU, He Was National Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Dave Oliver Was Elected Secretary of the Australian Council of Trade Unions Last Month. before He Headed Up the ACTU, He Was National Secretary of the Australian Manufacturing Workers' Union

Article excerpt

LAST weekend, almost 14,000 jobseekers attended a mining expo in Perth looking for positions in the booming minerals sector. These are mostly skilled, hard-working Australians, keen for a job in the remote Pilbara.

You would think the mining industry, which spends most waking hours complaining of a skills shortage, would have been ready to sign them up on the spot.

But many of the big names did not even attend the expo. There was no WorleyParsons, no Clough, no John Holland and no Multiplex.

And most glaring of all, there was no Hancock Prospecting.

Yet just the same day, Gina Rinehart's company had been handed an enormous gift with the approval of an Enterprise Migration Agreement to bring in 1700-plus foreign workers for her Roy Hill iron ore mine in the Pilbara.

Given all this, you can understand why Australian unions are pretty sceptical about the merits of allowing big miners to bring in thousands of workers from overseas.

The mining industry and big business regularly put forward the argument that we need to import temporary migrant workers because there are not enough available skills here. I accept there may be skill shortages in some areas but the question has to be asked: what have the mining companies done to invest in training over the past few years? Very little.

We are now importing the mining infrastructure that was once made here by contractors that trained our apprentices. We have exported work and now are importing the workers. …

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