Imported mining skills necessary

WORKERS must come from overseas if the mining industry is going to address its critical skills shortage, according to a spokesman from the largest resource industry employer representative body.

Australian Mines and Metals Association chief executive Steve Knott called on Prime Minister Julia Gillard to introduce a three-pronged attack on the skills shortage across the burgeoning mining industry, with a relaxation of the criteria for companies to bring overseas workers into the country.

The remainder of the plan, according to AMMA, would be a targeted campaign aimed at attracting more women into the industry and improved training for Australians.

“A startling 86% of AMMA members surveyed in mid-May on the future workforce requirements indicated they were currently experiencing a critical skills shortage,” Mr Knott said.

“Emerging industries including chemical manufacturing and sub-sea engineering also require increasingly specialised knowledge also rare in Australia at this point in time.”

AMMA director of media and public affairs Minna Knight said the standardised English test used in enterprise migration agreements was too strict.

“What we are saying is that if someone can speak and read English at a level that won’t put anyone else in danger, then that should be fine,” she said.


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