Look west

The Maritime Union is worried about jobs, they should look to encouraging their $91,000 per annum container movers to seek jobs in the mining industry in Australia. There is a massive shortage of unskilled labour in Western Australia.

In the remote mining hub of Dampier, shipping company manager Gary Bawden sees the red-hot demand for workers first hand. From this month, he’ll be offering $120,000 a year to people looking to work as a deckhand.

The only qualification needed for the 26-week-a-year job is to have finished school and completed a seven-day safety course. The work is tough, with most staff flying into the West Australian town for five-week stints away from their families.

Average temperatures can be well above 30 degrees.

But more than anything, the generous pay packets reflect the chronic shortage of workers in the nation’s resources hot spots.

And while the jobs market may be slowing to a crawl in much of Australia, Bawden, who manages the port services division of boating company Bhaghwan Marine, has few doubts the shortages will intensify.

Activity in the business has nearly doubled in the past three years, and he thinks the rapid growth will continue.

”The only thing that’s going to stop it from growing is the lack of infrastructure,” Bawden says.

”It will probably keep going like this until about 2013-14, then we may see a drop-off.”

Bawden needs to offer such high pay to compete with offshore gas companies, which can pay a deckhand $160,000.

Of course they might not like having to actually work for 43 hours in order to get 43 hours of pay rather than the 28 hours they have to do currently.

The article highlights the folly of the Greens and Labour for opposing mining in New Zealand:

Scenarios like this are being repeated around the country’s mining hot-spots, raising growing concerns that labour shortages could become critical this year.

The Australian Mines and Metals Association, for instance, says the sheer volume of projects under construction in the new year will start to stretch the market as work begins on even more projects.

Citing figures from Pit Crew Management Consulting Services, it says the total pipeline of approved and unapproved projects is worth a staggering $588.5 billion.

But in a sign of just how much the boom is concentrated in states where most people don’t live, some $231.5 billion of confirmed projects are in Western Australia, with a further $75.1 billion of certain projects in Queensland.

The lobby group says demand for construction workers alone will accelerate to peak at 83,000 jobs early next year, while the operational workforce will not peak until it reaches 85,000 in 2016.

So while we are forced to build cycleways to create a few hundred jobs because the Greens and Labour oppose mining Australia meanwhile is creating 83,000 jobs by digging up their mineral resources.

National really should adopt those graffiti slogans of the election. Drill it, mine it, Sell it, Create Jobs!


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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

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