The mining industry faces a looming skills shortage, unless the Australian immigration system can target needed workers.
10 February 2010
Looming skilled worker shortage in Western Australia warns BHP Billiton
BHP Billiton, the world’s biggest resources company, is concerned about skills shortages in Australia, particularly in Western Australia.
BHP Billiton chief executive Marius Kloppers said the company is noticing a shortage of available workers in some areas as the resource sector strengthens in Australia
"We are concerned about skill shortages," Mr Kloppers said.
"To be frank with you those skill shortages, particularly in Western Australia and certain skill segments, have come a little bit more quickly than even we anticipated.”
The mining sector faces operational and cost difficulties with a growing skills shortage, particularly in resource rich states like Western Australia and Queensland, and new changes to the Australian immigration system could address this shortfall with skilled migrants.
This week, Immigration Minister Chris Evans announced reforms to Australia's skilled migration program to target migrants with occupations in high demand.
"We need to re-set the bar for independent skilled migration, to target those of the highest calibre," Senator Evans said.
In 2009, some 170,000 people applied to emigrate to Australia permanently under the skilled migration program.