TODAY’S release of the Federal Government’s response to the National Resources Sector Employment Taskforce Paper, ‘Resourcing the Future’, has been welcomed by reource industry employer group AMMA.

AMMA Chief Executive, Steve Knott, said the release of the National Resources Sector Workforce Strategy today by the Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Jobs and Workplace Relations, Senator Chris Evans, was a welcome first step in tackling the critical skills shortage affecting the industry.

“The initiatives announced today will go part of the way towards addressing the industry’s long-term concerns, however, in saying that they in no way negate the need to further improve employer access to vital schemes such as the skilled migration visa scheme,” Mr Knott said.

“We welcome the establishment of a number of programs which will ensure resource industry employers will have access to workers with the appropriate skills to enable the mining and construction sectors to continue to grow.”

Mr Knott said the Minister had also announced the opening of Expressions of Interest for the Critical Skills Investment Fund (CSIF).

“AMMA welcomes the co-investment model proposed in the CSIF. It will be of particular interest to see the potentially innovative outcomes achieved through joint government – industry training projects such as this,” Mr Knott said.

Mr Knott also said there was one recommendation the Government had supported which he suspected would not be overly welcomed by the industry.

“In the final recommendation of the Strategy the Government directly tied the funding of infrastructure needs for regional communities directly to the passage of Minerals Resource Rent Tax (MRRT) legislation,” Mr Knott said.

“Infrastructure spending in regional Australia is a vitally important task for both people living in regional communities as well as removing the bottlenecks affecting resource industry employers. It should not be dependent on an additional mining tax.”