12 April 2011

Australian visas are not addressing skills shortages claims CEO

The CEO of one of Australia’s leading industries has warned that skills shortages threaten to cause "cost and schedule blowouts" in regard to Australia’s planned liquefied natural gas (LNG) projects, and that more overseas workers were needed to fill labour gaps.

Speaking to reporters at the Australian Petroleum Production & Exploration Association's (APPEA) conference, Woodside Petroleum’s chief executive Don Voelte said: “Industry is making positive steps on these issues, but we need more flexibility bringing in foreign workers … to fill short-term labour gaps.” APPEA chief executive Belinda Robinson had recently said that the LNG industry has been hit hard by shortages in skills which is affecting their potential growth.

Voelte’s remarks follow a call from several of Australia’s leading company chairmen calling on the Australian government to increase the intake of skilled migrants to address skills shortages.  Speaking with The Australian newspaper, chairmen such as BHP Billiton director Malcolm Broomhead confirmed that “the biggest risk in the economy right now is skills”.

Next month sees a federal budget being announced in Australia, where many business leaders and Australian visa applicants alike will be anxiously waiting to hear what plans the Gillard government may announce in regards to Australian Immigration.

The Australian Visa Bureau is an independent consulting company specialising in helping people lodge their Australian visa application.

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