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Wednesday, 19 August 2009
Page: 8345

Ms LIVERMORE (2:48 PM) —My question is the Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion. Will the Deputy Prime Minister outline for the House the impact that the Gorgon liquefied natural gas project will have on training?

Ms GILLARD (Minister for Education, Minister for Employment and Workplace Relations and Minister for Social Inclusion) —I thank the member for Capricornia for her question, and I know she is someone who very much focuses on education and training in her electorate. Today we are of course acknowledging the positive impacts of the Gorgon project for this country, and amongst those positive impacts is the direct employment of many highly skilled Australians. This is a project that will see employment in Western Australia, at the peak of construction, of around 6,000, with more than 3,500 direct and indirect jobs. This is a project that will need people with a variety of skills. It will need builders, welders, boilermakers, plumbers and electricians. It will need professional engineers. Because the project and construction is occurring on Barrow Island, it will require a maritime workforce with all of the skills associated with being in the maritime industry. This will require operations staff who are trained in LNG operations to staff the project at Barrow Island. And of course that skilled labour will not just be supported in direct employment by this project; this project will assist with training the skilled labour of the future.

We know that currently in the mining industry in Western Australia there are around 630 Australian apprentices, and through this project and new investment we will see more—more apprentices developing the skills that this nation needs for its future. Supporting Australian apprentices is of course at the forefront of this government’s policy. We want to make sure that we are investing in skills today so that we can have the prosperity and productivity we want tomorrow. To date 5,700 West Australians have enrolled in productivity places, with 800 enrolments in areas such as laboratory skills, civil construction, extractive industries and mining—the kind of training a project like this needs.

This government has invested in TAFE facilities around the country, including in Western Australia. Through our Better TAFE Facilities program we have provided $22 million to 48 TAFE campuses across Western Australia to upgrade teaching and learning facilities. This includes upgrades in areas like Port Hedland, Newman, Karratha and the Pilbara TAFE. This is once again support for training for the kind of skills that a project of this dimension needs. Of course training is about these statistics—it is about the picture of investing new money in capital. But it is also about the human face of the people who undergo training and the employers who support them in that training. In that regard I would like to acknowledge as the human face of training the training leaders of tomorrow who have joined us in parliament today through Group Training Australia. You young people are very welcome in this parliament today. These young people are undergoing training today and are bound to be leaders of the future.

Can I also acknowledge the support that employers give to their young people in training. We celebrated and recognised that support at the training awards which happened in this Parliament House last night and which some members of this parliament were able to attend. We recognised 23 outstanding employers from regions across Australia. Their passion and commitment to developing skills and training people of all ages, but particularly young Australians, was truly inspiring. This is a great project which will support training in the future—exactly what this nation needs for its future prosperity and productivity.