11 August 2008

Go West, life is better there

A massive recruitment drive for the Western Australian workforce took off this week in Auckland, reports The Dominion Post. The campaign, "Go West Now" is seeking 27,000 workers to fill the shortage of workers in Western Australia, and organisers are heading straight to New Zealand to find them.

The Western Australia Small Business Development Corporation (SBDC) spearheaded the campaign in Auckland this week, offering handsome pay-packets to Kiwis willing to make the move to Australia.  A spokeswoman for SBDC, Di Graham, said thousands of job opportunities on the Skilled Occupation List (SOL) paying much higher wages were readily available, especially in the mining industry.

According to the newspaper, truck drivers in Western Australia are being offered AUD$100,000 per year, while prison guards are being offered twice their annual salary.  Chefs could earn $95,000 yearly, a concierge’s pay could reach $48,000 and a housekeeper can earn $58,000.

"By the time they take into account our tax rates and a 9 per cent superannuation contribution from employers, they are taking home a lot more than they would [in New Zealand]," Jacky Finlayson, a spokeswoman for Western Australia told the newspaper.

The State Government also launched a "Go West Now" website which provides comprehensive migration advice, including a porthole for job seeking.  In a note on the homepage of the website, the Premier of Western Australia, Alan Carpenter, said "WA is Australia's strongest State economy and generates thousands of high quality and highly paid jobs every month. This unprecedented growth has led to Western Australia having the lowest unemployment rate in the nation, which is currently at a low 3.2 per cent (June 2008)."

He added that the growth is set to continue, with $21.6 billion currently being invested in development projects and another $650 billion planned for the next 20 years.  But, he added, "The only downside to all of this is that we are seriously short of skilled workers to build and operate these world-class projects."

The Government is investing record amounts to train Western Australians for the skilled professions, but is finding that relying on local workforce alone is not enough to keep up with the growth of business in the state. 

Mr Carpenter added that along with having the strongest State economy in Australia, residents also revel in the best lifestyle conditions in the country.  "We have great weather, a relaxed outdoor lifestyle, fine wines and great food. We also have world-class health and education services and, unlike some other parts of Australia, you don't have to pay tolls on our roads or pay for parking at the beach."

Already around 30,000 New Zealanders move to Australia every year, but three quarters of them congregate on the east coast in Sydney and Brisbane.  Last year saw record figures of Kiwis moving to Australia; according to Statistics New Zealand 31,900 migrated in the year to June, making it the highest movement of people across the Tasman in 19 years.

The "Go West Now" roadshow will be in Christchurch today and tomorrow, and Wellington on Thursday and Friday.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people apply for an Australia visa.

Article by Jessica Bird, Australian Visa Bureau.

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