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Australia’s Northern Territory will have the highest demand for overseas skilled workers in the coming 12 months, according to AMMA, the Australian Mines and Metal Association.
In spite of the return to record levels of unemployment (5.7%), the AMMA Pit Crew Labour Market Index says that the demand for skilled workers on major resource and infrastructure projects remains strong.
AMMA expects Australia’s construction workforce to reach more than 98,000 in 2013-2014. While Queensland and Western Australia are home to most major project; it is the Northern Territory that will be most affected by skills shortages. There are currently 35 major resource and infrastructure projects planned, or currently on-going, with a value of AUS 43.5 billion (USD 39.34 billion).
“These projects mark a strong emergence of the Territory’s [liquefied natural gas] and minerals sector and will see a peak of 5,644 workers needed to build new projects over the next 12 months. However, our forecasting indicates the available supply of construction and trade workers in the Northern Territory might be as low as just half that demand,” said Tara Diamond, director of AMMA.
The Northern Territory will have the highest skills demand, with as much as twice as many resource construction jobs than eligible workers. South Australia, Victoria and Tasmania have the lowest demand for skilled workers. The Northern Territory’s skills demand is forecast to reach the ‘red’ level, indicating an undersupply of skilled workers. Boiler makers and specialist welders will be in the highest demand. Other skills needed include pipe fitters, mechanical fitters, electrical trades, crane operators, riggers & scaffolders, production managers, experienced production operators and engineering technicians.
This news comes amid recent reports of companies abusing the 457 visas system, circumventing the recruitment of local people in favour of foreign workers.