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Chairman appointed to new Mining Industry Skill Shortages Working Group.

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I am pleased to announce that Dr David Smith has agreed to be the Chairman of the Australian Mining Industry Skill Shortages Working Group.

This follows my announcement of 10 June 2004 that the Australian Government would contribute up to $500,000 towards the project under the National Skills Shortages Strategy.

Dr Smith has extensive experience in the mining industry here and overseas, and brings considerable experience to the Working Group in contemporary management and strong strategic leadership.

He is Managing Director of Pilbara Iron and is Vice President of the Western Australian Chamber of Minerals and Energy. His commitment to individual development is demonstrated by his participation on the Board of the Australian Institute of Management and of Leadership Western Australia

The Working Group will be made up of key stakeholders from the exploration, extraction and primary processing sectors such as the Australian coal, metals, industrial minerals, construction materials, drilling and civil construction sectors.

I congratulate Dr Smith on his appointment and look forward to the Working Group reports. The establishment of this important Group will provide a strong platform for addressing the skill needs of our mining sector which is crucial for the on-going development and international competitiveness of the industry.

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that the vocational education and training system meets the needs of industry and helps Australians find and achieve their potential, particularly the 70% of young people who do not go directly from school to university.

28 July 2004