Member of the Agricultural Region Hon Martin Aldridge MLC has welcomed The Nationals’ plan to help build a skilled workforce in Western Australia by extending an existing construction levy to projects in the resources sector.
Mr Aldridge said The Nationals moved a motion in Parliament last week that would expand the Building and 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 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 Aldridge said.
“The Nationals want to ensure mining and 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 across the Moore electorate.”
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 had feedback from the building and construction industry during the boom years that they were 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 resource sector.”
The Nationals WA Member for the Agricultural Region Martin Aldridge, who moved last week’s motion, said the resources industry was responsible for many of the major construction projects in WA.
“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 Aldridge said.
Mr Aldridge said recent data suggested WA would face a shortage of skilled workers in coming years as the economy rebounded from the end of the mining construction boom.
“Western Australian workers should have access to training to capitalise on these employment opportunities,” he said.
Mr Aldridge said it would help address the skills shortage and increase the number of skilled workers across the Moore electorate.
“The Nationals WA are committed to addressing the skills shortage and our Construction Industry Training Fund policy ensures everyone in the industry is sharing the costs of training,” he said.