Statement by Chief Executive Officer Steve Knott AM, Australian Resources & Energy Employer Association:
As the resources and energy industry’s employer representative body, AREEA acknowledges the Albanese Government’s Employment White Paper.
The sector is facing longstanding labour supply and skills shortages.
AREEA’s latest Resources and Energy Workforce Forecast (2023-2028) report, released in August 2023, shows 103 major resources and energy projects in Australia’s investment pipeline – either already committed or considered advanced by AREEA’s analysts – likely to enter production between the second half of 2023 and end of 2028.
The 2023-2028 forecasted projects are worth about $142 billion in capital value and promise almost 30,000 new production-related jobs.
Factoring in hundreds of additional projects in earlier feasibility – and the employment benefits across construction and production – the resources and energy sector could easily account for more than 100,000 new job opportunities.
The headache for the industry – which powers the nation’s finances – is filling these positions.
AREEA urges the Government’s jobs plan to incorporate solutions to well-known problems in the training pipeline by improving VET and other training outcomes, labour mobility and access to skilled migration. Strong additional investment in TAFE and apprenticeships is essential – especially advanced skill apprenticeships – with better links between secondary school, vocational education providers and universities.
AREEA welcomes the Albanese Government’s commitment to a national skills passport – making it easier for businesses and workers to plug employment gaps and for portability of qualifications across jurisdictions.
However, the Government cannot continue to ignore the direct correlation between the strength of the Australian resources and energy industry and the nation’s economic wellbeing. Budget windfalls in Western Australia, Queensland and the recently updated Federal Budget surplus of more than $22 billion were delivered on the back of record resources commodity export volumes, royalties and taxation revenues.
These receipts are integral to public investment in the services we need such as Medicare, hospitals, schools, aged care and infrastructure.
If employment strategies are not focused on nurturing opportunities in the resources and energy sector, revenues forgone will impact the future standard of living of all Australians.