180,000 workers needed to sustain WA economy

Posted Fri Aug 24, 2007

WA's minerals boom is at risk from labour shortage. (ABC)

A new report has found Western Australia needs an extra 180,000 workers to keep up with the demand of the state's booming economy.

The State Government report concludes WA's economy will not suffer a crash but could stall if enough workers are not found.

The government plans to continue expanding its skills training programs but also wants to relax migration laws to allow more skilled workers into W.A.

Keith Spence from the State Training Board says there are local solutions to the problem.

"In the youth area for example, unemployment is up around 10.4 per cent versus the state average of just over 3.4 so clearly there are some areas that we could target to bring more people into the workforce," he said.

The State's peak union body says foreign skilled workers alone will not solve Western Australia's serious labour shortage.

Unions WA spokesman Simon McGurk says more needs to be done to train WA's population.

"The easier option for employers is to bring labor in from overseas and, with the current 457 visas, we've seen a lot of examples of where those workers can be exploited", he said ...

No comments: