January 10, 2019 by admin
The death of the mining boom has been “exaggerated”, according to Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard, who today called on industry leaders to back the Federal Government’s $6.7 billion education reform agenda and do its part to hire Australian workers.
Speaking at a mining conference in Perth, Ms Gillard drew on the sector’s skilled labour shortage to find common ground with the crowd on education.
But her comments come as the iron ore spot price benchmark has fallen below US$90 per tonne in recent days and Australia’s third largest iron ore miner Fortescue Metals Group announced job cuts as part of a massive pull back on its expansion plans in the Pilbara.
“Reports of the mining boom’s death have been exaggerated,” Ms Gillard said, urging heads of industry to do their part in hiring Australian workers.
There were 16,000 job seekers now registered on the Federal Government’s Jobs Board and 14,000 unfilled jobs in the resources sector, according to Ms Gillard.
“Migration is not the cure all that some might think,” she said.
“Why fly workers in from Manilla or Shanghai when they could be flying in from Hobart or Adelaide, especially given the softening of construction and manufacturing in parts of the nation.”
Ms Gillard has had a tumultuous relationship with the mining sector which has lobbied aggressively against the introduction of the MRRT and Carbon Tax.
Similarly the Federal Government’s relationship with Western Australia has remained strained as the Colin Barnett led WA government continues to push for a greater piece of GST revenue.
Australia saw $57 billion of mining investment in 2010-2011 and is expected to top $119BN by the end of this financial year, Ms Gillard said, arguing although the price boom had burst the investment boom was still underway.
“I know there’s uncertainty around as well,” she said.
“From depressed conditions in Europe and the US, from a softening of growth as China prepares for its new leadership and rebalances its economy and from the rise of resources competitors elsewhere in the southern hemisphere.”
Ms Gillard said China was undergoing a transformation the size of the industrial revolution, which would continue for decades.
“It’s happening on our doorstep and it’s not even half way done,” she said.
“China is only 50 per cent through.”
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