Foreign workers to benefit from Australia’s mining boom

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is fighting for an equitable distribution of wealth amid the current mining boom.

Gillard visits workers who are afffected by foreign labour scheme. (Photo: Gary Ramage/ The Daily Telegraph

Gillard told mining bosses at the Australian Mineral Council last night they don’t own the nation’s resources and that she will not back down with her controversial mining and carbon taxes. She said the Government allows them to dig up the earth, but they do not own its wealth.

The AAP said Gillard told her audience the need for a tough leadership to spread the benefits of the boom.

I know that not all of you in this room are in love with the language of ‘spreading the benefits of the boom’.. .Australia needs tough leadership and I think you know by now I’m prepared to fight….

About $500 billion of investment is currently in the pipeline and Gillard said there is no better place in the world to invest in than Australia.

Australia is ready to take advantage of the mega profits and to spread the wealth through taxes. However, taxing appears to be insufficient in the face of local labour shortages.

Association of Mining and Exploration Companies chief Simon Bennison admitted there are many people who are not qualified triggering unrest among labour unions led by the Australian Council of Trade Unions.

Australian media has announced mining magnate Gina Rinehart has already applied for the Federal Government’s Enterprise Migration Agreement (EMA) which would allow “mega” resource projects to import temporary foreign labour.

Mining magnate Gina Rinehart is the first to apply for EMA (Photo: ABC)

The EMA is another controversial scheme approved by the Federal Government without consultation from the labour sector.

Rinehart needs workers to work for the construction of her Roy Hill iron ore project in the Pilbara region.

The EMA would allow mega resource projects to source 1715 of its 8415 workers needed during its three year construction phase from overseas. The Daily Telegraph said the foreign workers would likely come from “the UK, Europe, India, China, South Korea and the Philippines. At least 6758 Australians will be employed on construction, including 2000 trainees. ”

Bennison said huge mining projects may qualify for an EMA to allow them “to import workers, needed skilled workers ready to work, who simply did not exist in Australia.”

Bennison said the majority of workers that were needed to meet demand in the industry were tradespeople such as welders and plumbers. “Training them up takes time,” he said.

Blog Link: ASIAN CORRESPONDENT

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