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August 24th, 2011

Fraser Coast well positioned for the mining boom

18 August 2011

The Fraser Coast was well positioned to be a one-stop-shop employment hub for the booming mining sector, Fraser Coast Mayor Mick Kruger said.

Cr Kruger was responding to plans by the Queensland Premier Anna Bligh to target coastal areas to address critical skills shortages in the resource sector.

“The government believes there are 3,500 jobs available now in the resource sector and another 60,000 people will be required (48,000 in construction and 13,000 ongoing),” Cr Kruger said.

The State Government and the resources sector agreed at a summit on the Gold Coast on Tuesday to seek out new skilled workers for the resources industry from coastal areas with high unemployment and plug them into the mining boom.

Work for Queensland jobs expos will be held in Wide Bay Burnett, Cairns, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and the Whitsunday regions from October.

Cr Kruger was invited to the summit and represented the Wide Bay Burnett as a key employment hub.

The summit identified the need to upskill workers and streamline training programs to shorten lead times to workers obtaining the necessary competences.

“The Fraser Coast already has training schools and a good reputation for producing skilled workers for the resource sector,” he said.

“To streamline the process we could create a one-stop-shop for training and integrate medical checks and screening with other aspects of the training program.

“As well we can offer a stable environment for workers’ families and direct transport links to the mine sites, especially for the fly-in-fly-out workers.

“And training workers for the mining industry would not adversely affect our existing industries or dilute the regional workforce.”

At the summit Cr Kruger presented a profile of the Wide Bay Burnett region as an employment hub and tabled the following strategies:

  • Establishment of  a one-stop-shop within the region to source local employment;
  • Co-ordinated regional approach to fly-in-fly-out and drive-in-drive-out workers;
  • Establishment of training facilities targeted at resource sector;
  • Provision of incentives for resource sector to relocate employees from SE Qld to the regions;
  • Identification of key resource sector service industries and moving them to regional areas; and
  • The region already has a manufacturing base that can cater to the resource sector such as Downer EDI, Bombardier and CQMS Fraser.

“There are opportunities for mine medicals and mine readiness training centres to be established in regional areas,” Cr Kruger said.

“The existing training facilities on the Fraser Coast show that it can work. We can add to that by combining medical screening with the new e-medical facilities which Council pioneered here when it introduced Widelinx.

“We can also promote the region to mining employees as a destination for their days off, or a safe place for their families to live while they are at work.

“The summit was very informative and productive and a welcome initiative by the Premier.

“This is an opportunity for the regions to actively participate in achieving a more diverse and multi functioning workforce.”

Received & published by Henry Sapiecha

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