This has been the rhetoric that has made up much of the pre-election spin by the present Federal Government.
When it comes to workers in the resources sector, companies are still reporting shortages of workers with specialised skills and experience even though the sector has been said to have come off the boil.
The extreme jump to new technologies to run these projects has Australia playing catch-up with other nations in the world.
Resource firms have had to draw on skilled workers from the United Kingdom and Europe to manage and transfer their skills and knowledge to Australian workers because machinery has been required that we have not seen before in this country.
These practices have emerged from research that has been going on in the past two years by ECU’s Centre for Innovative Practice in the Faculty of Business and Law.
A key recommendation from the research was training organisations needed to look closely at their courses to ensure work experience and work placements were part of what they delivered.
The latest increases in visa fees and State Government costs of $4000 per child for their education for workers and their families on 457 visas places another impost on WA business as it is likely they will foot the bill to ensure they have the workers they need to complete contracted projects.
All of our research has shown that WA companies prefer to employ local workers and that the numbers of overseas workers in Australia are beginning to drop. However, the research has also shown that sometimes workers on 457 visas are employed because local workers are unavailable.
For workers, the costs of living in WA are high.
The additional costs imposed on 457 visa holders is somewhat shortsighted if Australia is seeking to remain at the forefront of new technologies and innovative practice.