Shadow Minister for Housing and Works, Mr John McGrath, has responded to comments made by the Australian Mines and Metals Association about their concerns that thousands of employees could be prevented from fly-in fly-out employment under the Federal Government’s reforms to industrial relations law (refer: The West 1 April 2008).
“I find it interesting that in the same day we have the HIA announcing an eight-year low for new homes and the Federal Minister Gillard threatening our state’s fly-in fly-out industry.
“Why has the correlation between these two issues not been identified by the Federal Government? WA and Australia’s economic prosperity is largely intertwined at the moment and as WA does not have the housing stocks to cater to our workforce demands we are increasingly reliant on this alternative arrangement,” Mr McGrath said.
“Federal policy is looking to jeopardise the supply of workers to WA which is clearly ignoring the current housing crisis in the State. This disparity in policy, ignoring the realities of the housing situation in WA, may threaten Australia’s economic growth as it threatens the jobs of thousands of employees.
“The Rudd Government, in crusading with the reform of industrial relations, needs to ensure that these are not going to, as they promised, undermine the strength of our boom-time. The Rudd Government needs to provide us with adequate assurances that the proposed reforms do not undermine WA’s economic gain for the sake of crusading against Howard’s AWAs.
The 2006 Census found that over 5500 workers commute from inter-state to WA for their employment. Despite these high figures, the WA Chamber of Commerce and Industry says that in the next 10 years an extra 400,000 workers will be needed to completely benefit from the boom.
“We need more workers and yet the supply we already have may be weakened, this points to some very serious issues in the coordination of State and Federal policies,” Mr McGrath said.