Local representatives meet for jobs and skills roundtable in Kwinana

Tyra PetersSound Telegraph
Federal Member for Brand Madeleine King meets with local representatives to discuss current workforce barriers and skills shortages.
Camera IconFederal Member for Brand Madeleine King meets with local representatives to discuss current workforce barriers and skills shortages. Credit: Supplied

Brand MP Madeleine King has hosted a roundtable with representatives of local business groups, employment agencies and disability employment services to discuss current jobs and skills issues within Rockingham and Kwinana.

Ms King explored issues with local representatives such as barriers to the workforce and skills shortages.

Representatives from the City of Kwinana, including chief executive Wayne Jack and Warwick Carter, as well as City of Rockingham mayor Deb Hamblin and deputy mayor Hayley Edwards were in attendance at the roundtable.

“Understanding the challenges of our local workforce will be essential to improving jobs and skills in the area,” Ms King said.

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“As the member for Brand, I will always work closely with local businesses and the broader business community to ensure Perth’s southern suburbs remain one of the best places in Australia to work and raise a family.

“Kwinana’s industrial precinct, which includes BHP’s Nickel West refinery, Tianqi Lithium’s processing plant and the new H2Perth Hydrogen facility currently being developed by Woodside, have positioned Brand to be a green energy powerhouse.”

Ms King said investors are realising the Kwinana Industrial Area is “perfect” for renewable energy projects.

Ms Hamblin said the Jobs and Skills roundtable was timely given the challenges faced by local businesses.

She asked Ms King to relay her concerns to Canberra about the urgent need to ensure young people were getting access to the training they needed not just to get into the workforce but to keep that job when economic conditions changed.

“My main concern is around people not having the education and skills training to ensure we have the pipeline of young people coming into the workforce to staff local businesses,” Ms Hamblin said.

Kwinana Industries Council director Chris Oughton said the government need short, medium and long-term plans to confront the skills crisis.

He said in the very short term, the question being faced was how government could support businesses to get skilled workers into vacant positions quickly and one solution was to retrain existing staff.

“Someone working in admin on a desk can actually retrain to become a process operator, for example,” he said.

But doing that does not solve the problem, he said, with the only solution to get skilled workers into the local economy through migration reform.

He said many of his members industries were frustrated with the red tape they faced in trying to get much-needed skilled workers into the country quickly.

Ms King will be hosting a series of Jobs and Skills roundtables across Australia in the lead-up to the Albanese Government’s Jobs and Skill Summit, including in Brisbane, Karratha and Perth.

Discussions from these roundtables will support input to the national Jobs and Skills Summit, which will be held at Parliament House in Canberra on September 1 and 2.

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