Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Madeleine King has met with senior figures in the Western Australian resources sector to discuss jobs and skills challenges facing the resources sector during a roundtable in Perth.
Minister King used the roundtable to remind resource companies that one way companies could address skills shortages was to attract more women to the sector, something that would only happen if companies could demonstrate they were providing safe and inclusive workplaces.
Western Australia is Australia’s resources powerhouse and underpins Australia’s economic wellbeing. It generated more than $230 billion worth of export income or around two thirds of Australia’s mineral and energy exports in 2021.
Across Australia, the resources sector employs more than a quarter of a million Australians and accounts for 10 per cent of Australia’s Gross Domestic Product.
Minister King said with billions of dollars worth of new projects in the pipeline, Australia needs to plan to make sure the industry has the workforce and skills needed to meet the sector’s needs.
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“Australia has a well-earned reputation as a stable and reliable supplier of resources and energy to the world and the intense demand will continue for Australia’s sustainably sourced and high quality minerals,” Minister King said.
“The mining workforce is around all-time highs, and the challenge to find more workers is already here. From anthropologists to geologists, metallurgists to managers, there are immense opportunities to forge a career in the sector.
“The government and industry must work together to find a way to attract the next generation of mining workers needed for Australia to produce the resources that the world needs to reach net zero.”
Minister King said she was keen to hear from companies and peak bodies on how they were working to improve the culture for women in the resources industry following the Enough is Enough report into sexual harassment of women in WA’s mining industry.
“The resources industry needs to take serious steps to increase female participation in the workplace,” Minister King said.
“As Minister, I will not stand for poor behaviour. Every worker in Australia’s resource sector has a right to be treated with respect. Sexual harassment and sexual assault is abhorrent and has no place in any modern workplace. It must stop.
“Governments and industry must work together to ensure we have safe and inclusive workplaces that welcome and encourage women to have rewarding careers in the mining sector,” she said.
The Perth jobs and skills roundtable included representatives from peak industry bodies and small to medium enterprises, as well as major resources companies.
Minister King has already held jobs and skills roundtables in Brisbane, Karratha and Kwinana.
The roundtable discussions will feed into September’s Jobs and Skills Summit, which will bring together Australians, including unions, employers, civil society and governments, to address our shared economic challenges.