Govt reneging on skills promise

Greens MP and employment and industry spokesperson, Adam Bandt, says the government is ignoring commitments made at Budget time last year to train Australian workers.

The Greens warned at the time that the government's skills package could lead to the mining industry ignoring Australian workers and our worst fears seem to be coming true, Mr Bandt said.

Mr Bandt called for the urgent fast-tracking of a National Skills Register that would help find work for skilled people in the non-mining states on mining and resource projects.

Federal Skills Minister, Chris Evans, announced today that it will be easier for the mining industry to recruit workers from the United States.

"The government announced a big skills package as part of the last Budget. We warned that it could lead to the mining industry turning to overseas workers and it appears we were right, Mr Bandt said.

"There will be 800 electricians looking for work when the Victorian desalination plant is finished. They should be first in line for new jobs in the mining and resources sector. A national skills register would help make that happen."

"In pockets of my electorate, the unemployment rate is over 50%, with people desperate for work. We have many people in Australia with great skills, especially those who have from places like Africa or Vietnam, yet they're having trouble finding meaningful work. The government should be focusing on training and retraining local workers for these jobs."

"The Government also needs to justify why it is limiting this change to the United States and not other countries, such as China."