Election 2013 Western Australia March 9

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Nationals News

Nationals' plan to boost training for local workforce

Nationals Statement

Nationals WA candidate for Albany, Robert Sutton, welcomed a plan today to help build a skilled workforce in Western Australia by extending the Construction Industry Training Fund levy to projects in the resources sector.

Mr Sutton said if The Nationals WA retain the balance of power at the upcoming State election, they would expand the Construction Industry Training Fund, which supports skills programs including apprenticeships, entry level training, research and accreditation, by requiring the resource sector contribute to the Fund.

“At the moment all non-mining construction and building projects contribute to the Fund and help train workers, while the resources sector doesn’t pay but reaps the benefits of having access to these skilled workers,” Mr Sutton said.

“The Nationals want to ensure resource construction projects are contributing to training opportunities and building the skills of our local workforce.”

“Expanding the Fund will mean more opportunities for apprentices and workers in Albany and the broader Great Southern.”

He said the levy was 0.2 per cent of the value of a construction project and it currently included residential, commercial and civil engineering projects valued at more than $20,000.

“We have feedback from the building and construction industry that they are struggling to retain apprentices and skilled workers with the high salaries offered by the resources sector, so they are essentially providing free training for the resources sector.

Mr Sutton said the resource industry was responsible for many of the major construction projects in WA and in 2012 alone there was an estimated $167 billion worth of resource projects underway or in the pipeline.

“Not having the resource sector contribute to the fund means the state is missing out on millions of dollars every year that could be used to train young West Australians.”

Mr Sutton said recent data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics predicted that WA would face a shortage of 76,000 skilled workers by 2015 and Western Australian workers should be able to access training to capitalize on these opportunities.

Mr Sutton said it would help address the skills shortage and increase the number of skilled workers in the state.

“The Nationals WA is committed to addressing the skills shortage and its Construction Industry Training Fund policy ensures any one sector within the industry is carrying the training burden.”

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