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MEDIA RELEASE: WA resources need 13,000 workers as skills shortage continues to bite

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Western Australia’s resources and energy industry will conservatively require an additional 12,800 workers by the end of 2028, according to new modelling released today by the Australian Resources & Energy Employer Association.

Resources and Energy Workforce Forecast: 2023-2028 breaks down the estimated labour required to operate new, expansion and restarted mining and oil and gas projects expected to enter production by December 2028.

Nationally, the report lists 103 projects as being either committed or advanced in feasibility and considered likely to proceed within the five-year period.

Western Australia has 46 projects advanced in its investment pipeline which are forecast to create demand for the almost 13,000 new workers, according to AREEA’s modelling based on Department on Industry project data.

“Our forecast shows Western Australia’s mining and energy industry continues to go from strength to strength,” AREEA CEO Steve Knott said.

“Over the past two years WA’s resources sector has, incredibly, added 45,000 new people to its workforce.

“A boom in lithium and other critical mineral developments is driving significant forecast jobs demand in Western Australia.

“Our modelling shows critical minerals, including lithium most prominently, account for 2900 forecasted new workers over the next five years. Iron ore accounts for 3900, gold just under 1000 and other minerals about 2200 jobs.

“Skills in highest demand will include operators – with more than 4000 likely to be needed – as well as heavy diesel fitters, other trades, engineering and geology roles.

“Western Australia remains the nation’s mining and energy industry powerhouse. The state directly employs 166,000 people in its resources industry or roughly 53 per cent of the national workforce.”

However, Mr Knott warned the skills shortage crisis was far from over – posing the biggest threat to $92 billion of major project investment in Western Australia’s five-year pipeline.

“The biggest challenge for WA’s mining operators will be filling these 12,800 positions,” he said.

“Over the past five years, skills shortages have become progressively worse to the point that labour supply is as big a factor in approving growth projects as commercial considerations.

“With soaring vacancy levels, the industry’s existing labour force is unlikely to offer any real relief here. Creative solutions for short-, medium- and long-term outcomes must be examined.

“This is where government, industry and all social and training stakeholders need to work more closely together towards coordinated outcomes.”

Find the report here


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