Workers off to WA as Qld jobs fade

SUNSHINE Coast workers wanting to tap into Australia's minerals boom are struggling to get jobs in their home state.

While the government expects 38,000 jobs to be created in the sector between now and 2014, skilled tradesmen say they have had to look to Western Australia to find work.

And Alan Hayes, the head of Mackay-based employment placement agency Hayes PR, said even with 10,000 jobs likely to be created in the Galilee basin in the next 12 months, mining companies were still not screaming that hard for workers.

One Sunshine Coast worker with more than 20 years experience as a heavy machinery diesel fitter said he had tried for more than 12 months to get a job in Queensland to no avail.

He's now working 250km north west of Kalgoorlie doing 14 days straight then seven off.

The pay at $55 an hour for a 12-hour shift is good and his company flies him back to the Coast for his break.

But he is confused as to why his experience, which included stints working all over the world in hard rock quarries and for earth moving companies, wasn't sufficient to earn him a role here.

And he questions why the government is talking of bringing in workers from overseas for jobs

locals are struggling to access.

Mr Hayes said the miners were still looking for coal experience and if they have choice they go for that experience.

"We've had a lot of trouble with people coming to town looking for jobs after watching 60 Minutes," he said.

"It's still very competitive even though they'll be looking for another 10,000 for the Galilee basin."

Those seeking generic jobs as truck drivers also find the competition stiff.

When Anglo sought 250 drivers they could train up they were swamped with 5000 applications.

"At the moment they take from each other and the contractors," Mr Hayes said.

"But it will get busy here shortly."

The Queensland government yesterday announced a $1.2 million funding package to provide 500 Resources 101 training places in five TAFE colleges, including here on the Sunshine Coast.

The five-week long courses won't guarantee mining jobs but will provide a safety induction to the industry and skills development.


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