Skilled migrant plan to help tackle WA’s labour shortage

Posted by Daniel Palmer on 18th July 2008

Small Business Minister Margaret Quirk said today that she was relieved that the Rudd Government had recognised the State’s migration needs by committing to develop a migration plan for Western Australia. West Australia’s mining related boom has left many businesses struggling to find suitable staff and the situation has been particularly noticeable in the foodservice industry.

“A range of migration options tailored for WA is long overdue and we welcome working with the Federal Government and business to provide greater certainty about the future of our labour force,” Ms Quirk said. “If some certainty does not exist in regards to the labour force, then business confidence to further fuel our booming economy could be eroded.”

“It is heartening that the Federal Minister agrees that the State is currently constrained in the occupations it can sponsor, and should be given greater capacity to make decisions on what skills are most needed for the State’s economy to fill skills shortages,” Ms Quirk added. “Giving employers a greater say in what employees they need is also very welcome.”

The Minister reported that she was pleased that the Federal Government had acknowledged the special challenges faced by Western Australian companies in sourcing skilled labour, and was keen to continue to work closely together to find the solution.

“WA’s needs are not like other States and regions, employers need a range of migration options,” she said.

“I agree with Federal Immigration and Citizenship Minister Chris Evans, that it is not possible for the Commonwealth Government to deliver a single national skilled migration program that will adequately address these regional needs, and that State migration plans are a better option.”